When Will The GOP Learn To Win With Trump? The Sad! Case Of Chris Collins (R.-NY)
In those tumultuous days immediately after the AccessHollywood “Pussygate” tape was leaked and Congressional Republicans distanced themselves from Donald Trump, he took to Twitter with his usual bravado laced with scorn:
Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win – I will teach them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Like most of (ahem!) President Trump’s tweets, there was truth mixed in with his heated commentary. Republicans really did appear to seem clueless about how to win—and Trump really did teach them on November 8th as he won states which eluded the GOP for decades.
You might think that this would have made Republicans wake up. But if these past few months since Trump’s victory have shown us anything, it’s that Republicans are incredibly slow learners. Case in point: Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-NY 27) March 16 appearance on CNN’s “The Messy Truth.”
The show was billed as a national town hall where members of the audience asked the congressman questions. Since it was CNN, you knew the crowd was going to be heavily stacked with Democrats and each question was a thinly-veiled attack on President Trump and his policies. Most of the show, much like Collins himself, was forgettable. But there was an exchange between Collins and a so-called DREAMer which highlighted the massive disconnect between the mainstream GOP and Trump.
The show’s host, Van Jones, (yes that Van Jones), introduced the DREAMer with the usual gushing enthusiasm about how immigration is unquestionably good blah blah. It was Collins reaction that was troubling. He rambled on about how dairy farmers in his district are dependent on illegal immigrants to milk cows and how he would like to see some temporary employment status established for “undocumented workers.” This is a sharp break from Trump’s promise in his inauguration speech: “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.”
Collins also assured the DREAMer that she would not be subject to deportation: “We wish you a very bright future in America!” (My emphasis). This left viewers with the inescapable impression that not only were DREAMers not going to be deported, but also that there might be some “path to citizenship” Amnesty in the works. [CNN’s Van Jones STUNNED By DREAMer’s Positive Reaction To A GOP Congressman,by Hrand Tookman, Daily Caller, March 17, 2017]
President Trump in his usual blundering way, has previously said he would treat the Dreamers with heart. [Trump says he will treat Dreamers ‘with heart’, By Nolan D. McCaskill, Politico, February 16, 2017.] But Collins went far beyond that in the short time he spoke.
Collins also didn’t make any effort to refute the whole Democratic Party/ MSM concocted narrative of “DREAMers”—unlike President Trump who, true to form when provoked, pushed back against this manipulative appeal:
“I want dreamers to come from the United States… I want the people in the United States that have children, I want them to have dreams also. We’re always talking about ‘DREAMers’ for other people. I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They’re not dreaming right now.”
[Trump on DREAMers: “I Want Dreamers To Come From The United States,” They’re Not Dreaming Now, By Ian Schwartz, RealClearPolitics, February 15, 2016]
The saddest part: you would think Collins would be the one Republican in Congress to have learned from Trump. Collins gained national attention last February as the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Trump. Candidate Trump was apparently grateful for this and for Collins’ acting as a surrogate on the campaign trail: he let Collins second his nomination at the Convention. Collins also served as the transition team’s official liaison with House Republicans. Collins still claims to be very close to President Trump.[ Chris Collins sees star rise with Donald Trump, by Nicole Gaudiano , Democrat and Chronicle, February 21, 2017] He just doesn’t seem to have gotten the message about Trump’s actual policies.
Trump and Collins share somewhat similar backgrounds: successful businessmen who entered politics with no prior experience. (Collins, now 66, was first elected to Congress in 2012). But the similarities end there. On immigration, Collins (Numbers USA Career rating: C+) has much more in common with Paul Ryan than he ever did with Trump. And prior to endorsing Trump, Collins had endorsed “low energy” Jeb Bush, the hilarious loser who was the epitome of everything that was wrong with the pre-Trump GOP.
So why did Collins switch to Trump? Instead of suddenly understanding Trump’s appeal, Collins probably endorsed Trump just because he was pressured by a major donor: former New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. [The Paladino Problem, Public Accountability Initiative, June 2015 ] (Paladino himself is frequently embroiled in entertaining controversies over his Politically Incorrect humor, which makes Trump’s tweeting seem tame by comparison. [Carl Paladino stirs outrage with ‘Stop Blaming White People’ meme, By Glenn Blain, New York Daily News, March 14, 2017]
Collins never really embraced (or perhaps understood) Trump’s immigration agenda. At times on the campaign trail, he publicly contradicted major aspects of it, such as when he referred to the proposed border wall with Mexico as a “virtual wall” and any talk of deportation as “rhetorical deportation.” [Trump Surrogate Says Wall Will Be Virtual, By Gabrielle Bluestone, Gawker.com, May 19, 2016]
Unfortunately, this didn’t end when Trump won the presidency. Collins recently lobbied to remove the requirement of biometric scanning from the president’s latest immigration Executive Order for the U.S.-Canada border. [Collins: New border tracking order excludes U.S., Canadian citizens, By Tim Fenster, Lockportjournal.com, March 6, 2017]And he has assured large agribusinesses in his district that President Trump would not be deporting anyone and that some employment status will be established for illegal immigrants. [Collins speaks on immigration at Pride of Ag dinner; speaks on new healthcare, By Joseph Leathersich, Daily News, March 10, 2017]
Collins still appears to believe the same old “jobs-Americans-won’t-do” pro-Amnesty arguments we’ve heard for years from Republicans like John McCain. They show the inability of the GOP to think creatively (or honestly) about how to deal with immigration and the Cheap Labor Lobby.
Politicians like McCain and Collins claim immigration patriots are rigid. But it’s actually the pro-Amnesty Republicans who are rigid—refusing to consider any option other than guest-worker programs and Amnesty. Has Collins ever talked to these corporate farms about investing in automation that could perform the needed tasks instead of importing Third World labor to work for below-market wages?
As we have seen with the DREAMers, the longer illegal aliens remain in this country, the more the Democrats and the Leftist Main Stream Media will push to grant them citizenship. I’d bet most immigration patriots would even rather have the farms given government subsidies to update their technology rather than bringing in foreign workers who will inevitably be given Amnesty and proceed to outvote us.
When Collins listens to his big money donors over his voters, he is repeating the same mistake as the rest of the GOP. His district includes large rural areas where these corporate farms are located. But the vast majority of his actual voters overwhelmingly oppose temporary worker status for illegals and any type of Amnesty. The 2016 election made this clear.
A large portion of overwhelmingly white Niagara County is included in Collins’ district. Trump’s victory there was eye-opening. Niagara County Republican Chairman Scott Kiedrowski said: “Mr. Trump won here, and he won ‘bigly.'” Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate to win the county since Reagan in 1984—and Trump even surpassed Reagan’s results.
Reagan beat Mondale by nearly 10,000 votes, 55 percent to 45 percent. Trump beat Hillary by 16,335 votes, despite the fact that the county’s population has declined since 1984, 60 percent to 40 percent [Trump’s win in Niagara County first for GOP since Reagan, Niagara County Republican Party, November 10, 2016]
And this is typical.
”Most rural white residents (65%) say American workers are being hurt by the growing number of immigrants working in the U.S… Among whites, both rural men and women (65% for both groups) … say immigration has a negative impact on workers.” [Behind Trump’s win in rural white America: Women joined men in backing him, PewResearchCenter, November 10, 2016]
But they apparently are still forgotten by Chris Collins and the rest of the Cuckservative GOP.
What will it take for Republicans to learn from Trump’s win—and recognize that the only path to long-term political victory is Patriotic Immigration Reform?