Trump and Chuck and Nancy
By the end of Thursday, pretty much everybody was confused over whether President Trump had reached a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, or at least the framework for a deal, with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) over Chinese food Wednesday night.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who didn't learn about the deal until Trump called him 12 hours afterward, said there'd been "a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation." Schumer said "we're all going to support the DREAM Act and we're going to push for it to get on the floor soon," adding, "That part is agreed to." Trump said many things, but he told reporters on Thursday, "We're working on a plan for DACA" and "the wall will come later." He added, "I just spoke with Paul Ryan, he's on board. Everybody is on board."
What doesn't seem in dispute is that Trump has a better rapport with "Chuck and Nancy," as he's taken to calling them, than the leaders of his own party. And it isn't just Schumer who thinks so. "Schumer just talks to him," a White House source tells Politico. "You get Mitch and Paul in here, and they're trying to explain this or that, and there is no personal connection." Trump has reportedly complained that he finds it hard to make even small talk with McConnell, and only finds "boy scout" Ryan a little more simpatico. At a meeting last week, one attendee told Politico, Trump grinned at Schumer so much it was "almost uncomfortable," shook his hand repeatedly, and said he was better at keeping Democrats together than McConnell is at corralling his caucus.
And it's not just Chuck and Nancy. Democrats in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus said they were surprised at Trump's interest in their views at a high-level meeting earlier Wednesday. "I assumed he was going to lecture us for about an hour and tell us how great he was and talk about the election, but he didn't do that," Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) told Politico. "It was pretty productive." Trump is apparently courting Democrats, at least for now, because he likes the favorable coverage and wants victories the GOP hasn't delivered. Also, Trump wants hard-right Republicans to "feel the burn a little bit" and know he doesn't need them, a lawmaker tells The Washington Post.