The former Republican Party chairman said the Trump administration’s policy separating immigrant families was a cynical ploy to rally their base ahead of the midterm elections — and he’s worried it will work.
White House adviser Stephen Miller has admitted the policy was intended to turn voters against Democrats, and former GOP chairman Michael Steele told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the strategy would likely solidify President Donald Trump’s base.
“I think it’s more the red meat that they want,” Steele said.
Some administration officials have admitted the controversial policy was intended as a deterrent to would-be immigrants, and Steele said the GOP base wanted them to fear coming to the U.S.
“I was struck by the … interview with the mother who, when asked would you do this if you knew your child would be separated, in that clip was, ‘I wouldn’t have come,'” Steele said. “That’s the whole point. They want that clip. That’s the soundbite that defines this.”
Steele said so far the policy seems to be working as Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions intended.
“That defines who we are, so as far as the administration is concerned, this is working,” Steele said. “This is exactly right and so for the base, there’s no need to move off of this. But here’s the rub, there’s the rest of the country, and what I’m curious about is how the rest of the country outside of that 35 percent, 42 percent, whatever that number is.”
The Republican Party not that long ago defined itself as the party of family values, and Steele wondered how GOP voters would feel about this abrupt shift.
“Remember how we used to beat people up all the time on this issue about being pro-family and the fact that other policies of other administrations did not respect the family and the rights of the family to keep the family together?” he said. “Now we here in the business of tearing that piece of paper up and writing a new contract that says something very different about the kind of America we are.”
‘We have been under siege’: Trump falsely claims he has been ‘violently’ attacked by his critics
President Donald Trump claimed to be the victim of "violence" during his official campaign kickoff in Orlando, Florida.
"Many times I said we would drain the swamp and that’s exactly what we are doing right now. We are draining the swamp," Trump claimed, despite having the most scandal-plagued administration in American history.
"And that is why the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently," Trump argued.
"For the last two and a half years we have been under siege and with the Mueller report we want and now they want a do-over. They want a do-over," he repeated.
‘He wants the spotlight back’: CNN commentator says Trump is jealous of all the attention Democrats are getting
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump held a rally in Orlando, Florida to formally kick off his re-election campaign for 2020.
And as CNN's Gloria Borger explained to John Berman, Trump desperately needed this event — because he was jealous of how much coverage the Democratic presidential candidates are getting.
"One source told CNN campaign officials are hoping this event will satisfy the president's thirst for the spotlight and reset the campaign's efforts," said Berman. "This is the 60th campaign rally for the president. So is there any reason to think that this event could move the needle?"
Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied ‘proudly and with impunity’ because she was raised to be ‘impervious to reason’: WH reporter
Outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was blasted by a White House correspondent for her brazen lying from the White House podium.
"Sarah Sanders is a true believer. Conditioned by an upbringing rooted in Christian rhetoric that's impervious to reason, she views the world through a lens in which everything exists in absolutes," Playboy magazine White House correspondent Brian Karem wrote.
Her father, Mike Huckabee, is an Evangelical pastor who served as the Republican governor of Arkansas prior to unsuccessful presidential bids.