Now that real estate mogul and maybe, possibly, potentially not a billionaire Donald Trump has secured the GOP nomination, he and his newly found Republican backers are pivoting to the general election. And besides attacking Hillary Clinton and calling her husband a rapist, one of their duties is to assure the American public that Trump was just exaggerating when he said he was going to kick out 11+ million people and build a massive wall on the southern border paid for by Mexico.
Earlier this week, one of Trump’s first Capitol Hill endorsers, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), explained that The Donald’s HUGE Mexican wall was just “virtual,” and that the deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants was “rhetorical.”
“I have called it a virtual wall,” Rep. Chris Collins said in an interview with The Buffalo News.
“Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know,” the Clarence Republican said of Trump’s proposed barrier to keep illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing the southern border.
“I call it a rhetorical deportation of 12 million people,” Collins said.
He then gestured toward a door in his Capitol Hill office.
“They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Security number, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work status but are not citizens of the United States,” Collins said. “So there was a virtual deportation as they left that door for processing and came in this door.”
Collins added: “We’re not going to put them on a bus, and we’re not going to drive them across the border.”
Lest you think this is just one rogue Trump-backing Republican, Talking Points Memo interviewed a number of GOP lawmakers in Washington and found that they feel the same way. Basically, that Trump won’t physically deport millions of people due to the insane costs and logistics, and that he’s just appealing to angry voters by letting them know he’ll take immigration policy seriously.
“Logistically that is an impossibility,” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), who has endorsed Trump and is facing a primary challenge from her right in June, told TPM. “It would cost the taxpayers of America. We would never get there… It would be an endless pursuit.”
“That’s not realistic. I think that most people who look at that issue want a solution. They want tougher border enforcement, and they want to make sure that the people who are here illegally — particularly those who are committing crimes and have law enforcement issues — get sent back, but as we look at these issues, you have to consider what is actually doable,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
TPM also spoke to other Republicans who haven’t yet come around to Trump, largely due to the fact that they don’t believe anything he’s said regarding deportations and immigration. They see the impossibility of his statements and realize he’s full of shit. Unlike the Trump backers, they’re taking him at his word and want to see a legit plan.
Anyway, if the former reality TV star, who has essentially pulled even with Clinton in general election polling, wavers on his signature policy position, how will that impact his support among his cultish followers? Considering he’s already stated that his Muslim ban was just a suggestion, if he reveals that he was just speaking rhetorically about building a massive wall and pushing out all the immigrants, will it demoralize his white nationalist base? Or will they forgive and forget?