Using asylum seekers as pawns, targeting political opponents with law enforcement resources, employing the immigration system for negotiating leverage — this all sounds like a massive abuse of power and a brewing major scandal. And indeed, when the Washington Post reported Thursday night that President Donald Trump's administration had considered releasing detained immigrants in Democratic strongholds and sanctuary cities as some kind of 'retribution," it was widely regarded as an outrageous and ridiculous idea.
Even conservatives thought it would be unthinkable. CNN's Steve Cortes thought it was so absurd, he wouldn't even entertain the hypothetical that the report was true. David Harsanyi, an editor for the Federalist, suggested it was just a "stupid idea" brought up in a meeting that was never seriously considered. When the White House responded to the story, it said, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion."
But then on Friday afternoon Trump undermined all that, his staffers' downplaying of the idea, his conservative defenders' dismissals, by saying yes, of course, he was seriously considering the idea:
....The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1555087082.0
It's not often that a president openly admits that he is contemplating a blatant abuse of power. Unless that president is Donald Trump.
Tal Kopan, a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, pointed out the absurdity of the idea, even from the president's own perspective.
"I see," she said. "To own the libs, the admin will use ICE’s budget that is supposedly nowhere near enough $ to at great expense bus or fly immigrants to cities that are often their preferred destination anyway and where the immigration courts are most lenient on them? Got it."