A veteran of Washington, D.C. politics says President Donald Trump laid a media trap for Democrats this week but must avoid their trap next.
With television cameras rolling for almost an hour on Tuesday, Trump discussed and debated so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" with top Democratic and Republican lawmakers in what has been described as an unusual "sausage-making" spectacle of D.C. politics.
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families says the media-savvy president seemed eager to use TV cameras to push back on the newest Democratic talking point: Trump is mentally unfit for office.
"Every cable network station in the country was basically forced to televise him leading the meeting well, showing great depths of knowledge on the issues. Being strong. Being tough," Bauer says. "So I think on all those grounds that was an extraordinary moment, and he laid a trap and the Democrats walked right in it."
Beyond that tactic, however, Bauer warns that Trump must win funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall that he promised to voters.
"He's adamantly opposed on this by the Democrats," Bauer tells OneNewsNow, "and sadly there are a significant number of Republican senators that don't want a wall either, and the jury is out."
Trump drew raucous applause on the campaign trail when he described a border wall, paid for by Mexico no less, but he has since said a wall is necessary only on some portions of the porous border.
According to one news report, the White House is asking Congress for 316 miles of new construction and 407 miles of upgrades, which would mean about half the 2,000-mile border would have some type of barrier.
"No wall means no second term," Fox News radio host Todd Starnes tweeted after the White House meeting.
In his Jan. 10 "End of Day" commentary, Bauer points out that Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushed for a "clean DACA bill" at the meeting, meaning a stand-alone bill without border security measures. If Democrats get their way, he wrote, they could push for "comprehensive immigration reform" which really means amnesty for illegal aliens.
Trump must be careful in the ongoing negotiations, Bauer wrote, or he will get only a "pledge" from Democrats.
"We have been burned by past promises for future border security," Bauer writes, likely referring to Democrats who reneged on a deal with Ronald Reagan in 1986. Reagan gave them amnesty for more than a millon illegal immigrants - but not the border security he was promised.
"For many conservatives," Bauer warns in his column, "a big new immigration law prior to the wall would likely be a bridge too far."