Some Trump allies in Congress are already backing his 2025 ideas on deportations and pardons on January 6

(Eric Gay/associated press)

Some Trump allies in Congress are already backing his 2025 ideas on deportations and pardons on January 6

Elections 2024, Immigration and the Border


March 30, 2024

As Donald Trump campaigns on promises of mass deportations and pardons for those convicted in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, his ideas are being met with little resistance and some enthusiasm by a new era of Republicans in Congress.

It’s a shift from the first time the presumptive Republican presidential nominee faced initial skepticism and the occasional uproar of condemnation.

Rather than being dismissed as campaign puffery or Trump speaking his mind to rouse his most committed voters, his words are being adopted as party platforms, potentially moving quickly from rhetoric to reality, with a West Wing in waiting and crucial support from important quarters. Capitol Hill.

We’re going to have to deport some people, Republican Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, one of Trump’s biggest supporters, said days after campaigning with Trump in his home state.

While Democratic President Biden and his allies are sounding the alarm about Trump’s proposed agenda for a second term and his promise that he would be a “dictator,” the Republican Party in Congress is undergoing a massive political realignment only on day one toward of Trump’s Make America Great Weather movement.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has clashed with Trump at times, especially over the Capitol riot, while also pushing through dozens of his judicial picks, is preparing to step down from his leadership role at the end of the year. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is under constant threat of impeachment.

Rising in the churn are MAGA-related newcomers like Vance, who was not yet elected during Trump’s presidency, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who was elected when Trump lost to Biden in 2020. Both Vance and Greene are considered potential. Trump’s vice presidential picks.

Greene, who recently introduced a motion to potentially force Johnson out of the speakership, said it is too early to discuss a second-term policy agenda or who will fill the positions in the West Wing.

As she campaigns for Trump, she said her priority is just winning the election.

Other Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate often simply shrug when asked about Trump’s agenda, pointing to policies they like and policies they might support.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a cast of former Trump White House officials is busy releasing policy papers, drafting executive actions and preparing legislation that would be needed to make Trump’s ideas a reality. These efforts are separate from Trump’s campaign, whose senior leaders have repeatedly emphasized that outside groups do not speak for them, although many group leaders would be eligible to serve in a new Trump administration.

If Trump wins, we have a plan and the staff is ready to hit the ground running, said Paul Dans, a former Trump administration official who heads the conservative Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, which collects and compiles thousands of resumes. is training staff for a possible second Trump. administration.

Trump himself has proposed placing a very small desk on the Capitol steps so he can sign documents on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2025.

On the first day of President Trump’s new administration, Americans will have a strong leader,” said Karoline Leavitt, the campaign’s national press secretary.

During the first Trump administration, Congress sometimes retreated, with a group of Republicans joining Democrats in blocking some of his proposals.

Republicans and Democrats are opposing a White House effort to secure funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, leading to the longest government shutdown in history. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who died in 2018, famously gave a thumbs down to Trump’s attempt to repeal the health care law known as the Affordable Care Act.

And after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection and seven Republican senators voted to convict him. Many of those lawmakers have since left Congress. One, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, is retiring at the end of his term. If the Senate had convicted Trump, it could have voted to ban him from holding federal office again.

As a result, there are now fewer lawmakers in Congress willing or able to oppose Trump or publicly oppose his agenda, as he has effectively claimed the party apparatus, including the Republican National Committee, as his own.

Those people have all been a bit washed away, says Jason Chaffetz, a former Republican representative who is close to Trump allies both on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen and claims he should be immune from a four-count federal indictment alleging he deceived Americans in his effort to overturn the results. He has made Jan. 6 a cornerstone of his 2024 campaign and often calls those captured over the attack hostages.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, leading the effort to challenge the Jan. 6 certification of electors, said he disagrees with the idea of ​​a blanket pardon for those convicted in the riot. About 1,300 people have been charged. .

But he said he is closely watching the upcoming Supreme Court case challenging whether rioters obstructed an official proceeding, which could throw hundreds of cases into doubt, including some charges against Trump.

My view is, let’s see what the Supreme Court says about that, Hawley said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), once a Trump critic after their fierce rivalry during the 2016 campaign, said anyone involved in violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 should be prosecuted. But Cruz, who also helped challenge the 2020 election that day, was open to pardoning others.

Perhaps Trump’s most enduring 2024 campaign promise is his repeated promise to launch the largest domestic deportation operation in American history, reviving the immigration and border security debates that helped shape his presidency.

He points to the Eisenhower-era roundup of immigrants as a model, one that lags far behind his 2017 travel ban on migrants from mostly Muslim countries or the separations between families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been a leader on immigration issues, most notably the 2013 law that provided immigrants in the U.S. with a 10-year path to citizenship without legal documentation, although it ultimately did not become law.

But with the number of migrants crossing reaching record highs during Biden’s term, Rubio said, “Whether they’re deported through the hearings they’re waiting for, or if they’re deported through an effort to expedite it, something is going to have to be done.”

No one is saying it would be easy, but something will have to be done with all the people who came here, he said.

Vance added: I think you should be open to deporting anyone who came to the country illegally.”

Vanessa Cardenas, a former Biden campaign official who now heads the advocacy group Americas Voice, said she worried that Trump allies would actually know how to use the levers of government in a second term.

“I’m afraid there’s a bit of amnesia about how cruel his policies were,” she said, describing the fear in migrant communities. Our tolerance level for his language and ideas continues to rise.”

Mascaro is a congressional correspondent for the Associated Press. AP writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.


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