The New York Times may be at its most liberal on the immigration issue, and when President Trump, in a unique live-television session with members of Congress, seemed to warm to the idea of a path to citizenship for illegals, its reporters abruptly warmed to him, at least compared to the “hard-line anti-immigration activists” in his party.
The lead story by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Wednesday, “Trump Receptive To Working Out Citizenship Path," painted a relatively flattering portrait, quite a change from their usual treatment of the President:
President Trump on Tuesday appeared open to negotiating a sweeping immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, declaring that he was willing to “take the heat” politically for an approach that seemed to flatly contradict the anti-immigration stance that charged his political rise.
The Times tempted Trump with chances of political victory, and provided its usual “undocumented” euphemism for illegal immigrants:
But in suggesting that a broader immigration measure was possible next, Mr. Trump was giving a rare public glimpse of an impulse he has expressed privately to advisers and lawmakers -- the desire to preside over a more far-reaching solution to the status of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living and working in the United States. Passage of a comprehensive immigration law would give Mr. Trump success where Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush failed.
The push for an immigration deal with Democrats has the potential to alienate the hard-line anti-immigration activists who powered his political rise and helped him win the presidency, many of whom have described it as amnesty for lawbreakers. If he succeeds, it could be compared to Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China. Only an anti-Communist hard-liner could have made the opening acceptable to his supporters.
But the comments earlier Tuesday were a remarkable break with the divisive messaging that propelled Mr. Trump to the White House and the harsh policies that have defined his first year in office, marked by efforts to demonize and deport immigrants who have entered the country illegally.
A related “news analysis” from Peter Baker relished the potential for an agreement on amnesty for illegals, while giving the president points for “constructive engagement” on an issue the Times is obsessed with: “A Presidential Show, Unfolding for the Cameras”:
For 55 minutes, with cameras rolling, President Trump engaged in a vigorous discussion of immigration with congressional leaders of both parties in a setting usually reserved for bland talking points and meaningless photo opportunities.
No liberals in the paper’s coverage, but it managed to find conservatives:
As in the past, however, Mr. Trump got immediate pushback on Tuesday from conservative allies who quickly accused him of betraying the very promises he won the presidency on....
Online, reporter Michael Shear offered “6 Dramatic Moments in Trump’s Unusual Immigration Session” online, with the usual “undocumented” labeling, while framing conservatives as angry immigrant-haters:
Mr. Graham has always been a blunt-spoken proponent of a comprehensive immigration overhaul, often sparking fury from conservative hard-liners. But in Tuesday’s meeting, his embrace of a “pathway to citizenship” for 11 million illegal immigrants undercut conservatives in the room by prodding Mr. Trump to publicly endorse that idea for the first time.