Donald Trump did not win the Republican primary on the strength of his policy proposals. The GOP nominee won much of his party’s Evangelical base despite betraying a profound ignorance of their views on abortion; he earned plenty of votes from conservatives who backed the Iraq War, despite deriding it as a total disaster; and he won the backing of countless opponents of Obama’s stimulus package, despite running on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
But if there was one policy proposal that was genuinely important to Trump supporters, it was the candidate’s hard-line approach to deterring illegal immigration. Thus, when Buzzfeed reported that Trump was mulling a new, “humane” approach to dealing with the undocumented, hackles were raised. And now, two days after that report emerged, Trump has canceled the much-hyped speech on immigration policy he’d been slated to deliver this Thursday.
Over the weekend, Trump met with his newly unveiled Hispanic advisory council. According to Buzzfeed, Trump told the group that he wanted to find “a humane and efficient manner” of accommodating those who are in the country illegally. Univision suggested Trump went even further, in its dispatch from the meeting, writing that Trump “plans to present an immigration plan in Colorado Thursday that will include finding a way to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants.”
This was not welcome news to the Trumpen proletariat, and Breitbart (a.k.a. Trump Magazine the Second) was quick to attack the messengers. On Monday, Trump told Fox News that he was not “flip-flopping” on immigration, but rather, was seeking a “a really fair, but firm” way of addressing the issue of the undocumented.
On Monday afternoon, the Trump campaign abruptly canceled the speech it had planned for Thursday, without providing an immediate reason. However, according to the Denver Post, the campaign informed supporters via email that speech he “was planning on giving is still being modified.”
The Washington Post notes that Trump could abandon his past calls for mass deportation without, technically, flip-flopping on policy. The paper writes that, while Trump repeatedly called for expelling the entire undocumented population in interviews and on the campaign trail, the written immigration plan that Trump released last August did not actually contain any mention of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.