As my colleague Adam Raymond pointed out earlier today, Breitbart News is really, really upset about its hero’s betrayal of The Cause in cutting a deal (however vague and tentative) with congressional Democratic leaders to enact something like the DREAM Act for something like “border security,” with everyone agreeing a border wall was not part of the agreement. A long series of Breitbart articles denounced the apparent deal and reported righteous conservative anger about it, with no reaction being more abrasive than its own characterization of the president as “Amnesty Don.”
But perhaps the most cutting and telling reaction occurred late today, when Breitbart’s Neil Munro published a piece negatively comparing the president to House Speaker Paul Ryan on immigration policy.
No, it wasn’t a Ryan puff piece; Munro thinks the Speaker wants a broader amnesty for low-wage workers — but is still showing a greater commitment to border control than Trump is.
This comes as a big shock to anyone aware of Breitbart’s recent history of treating Ryan as an actively evil figure determined to expose a helpless America to the onslaught of violent refugees and immigrants.
The definitive piece of Breitbart Ryan-bashing was probably a December 2015 piece, a rare byline from Stephen Bannon along with immigration and refugee-policy obsessive Julia Hahn (now a White House staffer). Its headline was less than subtle: “Paul Ryan Betrays America: $1.1 Trillion, 2,000-Plus Page Omnibus Bill Funds ‘Fundamental Transformation of America.’” Turns out that the “fundamental transformation of America” the article talked about was basically Ryan’s failure to secure a long list of immigration and refugee restrictions in a bill that required Democratic votes and a presidential signature. Bannon and Hahn didn’t leave it at that; they argued Ryan deliberately contrived this massive funding bill as a disguise for his evil intentions on refugees and immigrants. Hahn expanded the attack a couple of days later with an even stranger piece attacking Ryan for the continuation (again, part of a deal to keep virtually every current policy in place) of refugee policies she interpreted as a huge Muslim assault on America. (Full disclosure: a post I wrote mocking this incredibly narrow take on a bill necessary to keep the federal government going earned me a separate, long, long attack from Hahn that accused me of indifference to the threat of female genital mutilation that Ryan’s policies, in her opinion, encouraged.)
For dessert, Hahn helped wrap up Breitbart’s 2016 election commentary in late October by accusing Ryan of working nonstop to elect Hillary Clinton.
So seeing anything positive about Ryan at this site is surprising. But perhaps more important than Munro’s measured praise for Ryan was his assessment of the long-term significance of Trump’s Dreamer gambit:
The danger to Ryan caused by Trump’s reversal on his core campaign promise of immigration reform and a border wall is made clear by President George H. W. Bush.
In June 1990, Bush reversed his 1988 campaign pledge, “Read My Lips: No New Taxes.” That reversal crippled Bush’s 1992 reelection campaign — but it also hurt the GOP in the 1990 midterm elections. The GOP’s minority in the House dropped down by another nine seats to 167, and GOP’s Senate minority fell by one seat to 44.
Bland midterm assessments aside, Munro is directly comparing Trump’s flip-flop to perhaps the most notorious GOP presidential “betrayal” of conservatives since Nixon imposed wage-and-price controls.
Them’s fightin’ words, aimed at the president Breitbart supported so loyally during the campaign and ever since. No wonder that by contrast even the evil refugee-panderer and Sharia Law enabler Paul Ryan looks better than ever.