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Trump encourages immigration legislation in series of tweets
President Donald Trump continued his focus on immigration this morning, calling on Congress to "immediately pass Border Legislation" in a series of tweets.
Once again, Trump tweeted about the "caravan" of 1,000+ Central Americans traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border, seeking to gain asylum in the United States. BuzzFeed News first reported on the "caravan"; the President's tweets on the subject followed coverage of the story on "Fox & Friends."
"Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large 'Caravans' of people enter their country," President Trump tweeted this morning. "They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws." He then called for legislation "to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People," adding that "weak Dem laws" were preventing border patrol agents from doing their jobs and encouraging the "Nuclear Option" to be invoked so a filibuster-proof majority would no longer be needed to pass such legislation. "Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!" he concluded.
Later this morning, the President tweeted about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shielded immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors from deportation. "DACA is dead because the Democrats didn't care or act," he said, although Trump ended DACA (a program initiated by President Barack Obama) earlier this year. He also tweeted that "now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon," repeating a theme from a Sunday tweet ("These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!") DACA only protected immigrants who arrived in the U.S. prior to June 2007, meaning recent border arrivals would not be given protection under the program.
Speaking to reporters as he entered Easter services in Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday, Trump still seemed to be confused about the program: "Mexico has got to help us at the border, and a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA," he said.
After months of negotiations with Democrats, Trump pronounced an agreement to make DACA permanent as impossible on Sunday. "NO MORE DACA DEAL!" he tweeted. "The Democrats blew it," he told reporters, repeating that help from Mexico was needed at the border.
Why the sudden focus on immigration? Trump was surrounded by immigration hardliners at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida over the weekend, CNN reports. He spent time over the weekend with a trio of Fox News hands: anchors Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, as well as former executive Bill Shine. White House chief of staff John Kelly and other senior aides did not join the president, although other outside allies were at the club, including boxing promoter Don King, former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik, and My Pillow founder Mike Lindell.
Trump continues to rely on informal advisers (his "island of misift toys," as Axios labeled them; both King and Kerik have served time in prison) over his West Wing aides, as he appears increasingly emboldened to call his own shots, according to the Washington Post, replacing aides who acted as "stabilizers" with personalities he is more comfortable with.
"Trump is making hasty decisions that jolt markets and shock leaders and experts — including those on his own staff. Some confidants are concerned about the situation, while others, unworried, characterize him as unleashed," the Post said, drawing on interviews from 23 senior White House officials and outside advisers.
Trade: Chinese tariffs on 128 U.S. goods take effect today, retaliation for President Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Pruitt: New details have emerged about Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's $50-a-day apartment rental from the wife of a Washington energy lobbyist.
VA: The White House is going on the offensive against ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, insisting that he left his job willingly while he tells interviewers that he was fired and did not resign.
"Behind the chaos: Office that vets Trump appointees plagued by inexperience" (Washington Post) Why has the Trump Administration struggled with staffing issues since the transition? Go inside the Presidential Personnel Office, which is composed of a much smaller and younger staff than in previous administrations.
"The Kushners Saw Redemption in the White House. It Was a Mirage." (New York Times) When President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was named a White House senior adviser, his family thought redemption would finally come. Instead, they face heightened scrutiny and investigations.
Republicans are running against familiar targets in 2018:"Republicans are running against Hillary Clinton — again" (NBC News); "Nancy Pelosi targeted in more than a third of GOP House commercials" (USA TODAY)
"How to make it as a maverick from Trump country" (McClatchy) Meet Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), the rare lawmaker from a strongly pro-Trump district who has broken with the White House on the Russia investigation and other issues.
"Is DC Being Too Mean to Louise Linton?" (Washingtonian) A profile of the First Lady of the Treasury Department.
Trump: At 9:45am, President and First Lady Trump host the White House Easter Egg Roll Breakfast Reception. At 10:30am, the Trumps host the 140th White House Easter Egg Roll. Nearly 30,000 attendees will participate in the festivities on the South Lawn, with events including reading, bowling, and the traditional egg rolling.
At 2pm, the President meets with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, whose first day on the job is today.
Congress: Both chambers of Congress are on recess today.
*All times Eastern