President Trump on Wednesday vowed not to cut taxes for the wealthy, extolled the virtues of bipartisanship as leading to “some of the greatest legislation ever passed” and then — in a surprise move announced deep into the night — agreed to cut a deal with Democrats saving hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation.
That Trump did all of that while declaring himself “a conservative” only heightened the sense of surrealism that has wafted through the nation’s capital over the past eight days, as the president has expressed a newfound, if tentative, willingness to work across the aisle — a development that has left many Republicans chagrined and some Democrats cautiously optimistic.
Trump’s outreach suggested that an unexpected deal he reached last week with Democrats may not have been an aberration. This week’s effort began Tuesday at a bipartisan White House dinner with senators and proceeded to a gathering of House Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday afternoon.
It was finally capped off Wednesday night by a presidential meal with the nation’s two top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), during which they reached the contours of an immigration deal and discussed Beijing trade issues over a menu of Chinese cuisine.
Calling the dinner “very productive,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement late Wednesday that Trump had agreed to “enshrine the protections” of a Barack Obama-era executive order into law “quickly,” protecting about 700,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.