A CNN segment morphed into shouting match on Thursday as prominent Never-Trumper Steve Deace and conservative radio host Ben Ferguson went head-to-head over Donald Trump’s apparent willingness to work with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
According to a statement released by Pelosi and Schumer after their dinner with Trump Wednesday night, the president agreed to strike a deal on DACA that does not include funding for a border wall. The White House has since “clarified” that the president does not support amnesty, but does support a path forward for those who came to the United States as children, a clarification that’s served to further enrage right-wingers who thought Trump would take a hard-line approach on immigration.
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin explained the muddled half-answers coming from Trump’s White House regarding the immigration debate before asking Deace, “deal, no deal, semi-deal, definitely no deal, not amnesty? Which is it?”
“Yes, Brooke. Yes,” Deace replied. “The answer is whatever, whatever Mr. Trump's ego thinks it needs to be, today, tomorrow, whatever he needs to do to get positive media headlines, to get somebody to adore him, to love him. His new BFF’s Chuck and Nancy—far be it for them to take advice from me—but I would urge them from the last two years of what we on the right have seen: tread very carefully with Donald Trump. Men who lay down with dogs wake up with fleas.”
Taking a position that some of Trump’s more ardent supporters have tepidly embraced, Ferguson jumped into a full-throated defense of Trump’s mysterious immigration plan, arguing while the president “has to produce on the wall,” with regards to DACA he “is being pretty smart to let it be known clearly to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and to the majority leader, Sen. Paul Ryan (R-WY) that, ‘I am not going to sit around for another six months and get nothing done.’”
“The Republican leadership had been terrible to deal with, so why not have dinner with Chuck and Nancy and see if there’s anything that you might be able to agree on that also your base agrees on?” Ferguson asked. “And a lot of conservatives have compassion for children that were brought here at a young age who have grown up here in a country.”
“I don't blame a guy that for 60 years, prior to 2011, spent his entire life as a Democrat, supporting democratic causes, being a product of the Democrat media, sitting there in democratic New York City,” Deace shot back. “I mean, water eventually returns to its own level, so I'm not shocked by this. A wise man once said in a best selling book, ‘The dog returns to its own vomit,’ and that's exactly what you're seeing right now. He's much more at home with people like this. When I was fighting for things like rule of law and border security, Trump was cutting checks to people like Pelosi, Schumer and Rev. Al Sharpton. What Trump is proving is you can go home again.”
In response, Ferguson defaulted to quoting Ronald Reagan, before arguing Trump “is someone that can get something done.”
“That's not why they voted for him,” Deace replied, referring to Trump’s softening immigration position.
“When he said ‘America first,’ when he said he was going to put their values first, the people that have watched their jobs go overseas … those people, they thought he meant, ‘I’m going to put them first.’ Not the swamp first, it's not getting stuff done, it's getting what they wanted done. They didn't vote for Hillary Clinton, they voted for Donald trump. They’re getting Hillary Clinton's agenda.”
Ferguson tried to appeal to Deace’s empathetic side, explaining that kids brought to the United States had no choice in the matter, but the Never Trumper quickly cut him off.
“You're making the wrong argument,” Deace said, demand to know where his “compassion for the americans who don't have jobs” is.
“We can both play this game of,” Deace challenged, referring to “the federalist emotional game.”
The pair talked over each other before Ferguson demanded Deace “relax, chill out.”
“Chill out!” Peace replied “That's a liberal tactic. You are a conservative talk show host, right? That’s the rumor.”
Ferguson iterated his argument about “compassion” for DACA recipients.
“Where's the compassion for the parents who don't have those jobs, Ben?” Deace demanded. “What would you say to the parents who don't have those jobs and their jobs were given to the people illegally? Where's the compassion for them?”
“What about American children?” he asked.
Watch the video below, via CNN: