Politics

‘Go Push Those Democrats’ on DACA, Trump Tells Latino Group

President excludes mention of role in spiking bipartisan immigration bill

President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. He spoke to a Latino business group on Wednesday, criticizing Democrats. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump criticized Senate Democrats for holding up nominations for executive branch posts and blocking immigration and infrastructure legislation, calling their alleged tactics a “terrible thing.”

Trump, however, did not explain why his own White House staff helped defeat a bipartisan immigration bill nor defend the qualifications of any nominees Democrats have called poor fits for the jobs he wants them to take. Trump ran, in large part, as a successful businessman who would strike cross-party deals; so far, however, he has yet to do so while frequently blaming the opposition party.

“Many of the agencies have so many people (nominees) out there,” he said during a speech to a Latino business group. “Democrats don’t want to approve them because they want to obstruct.”

He called out Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., by name, urging him and his caucus to “get going.”

Democrats often counter White House and GOP calls to speed the executive nomination by questioning the qualifications of a long list of Trump nominees.

Watch: ‘Go Push Those Democrats’ on DACA, Trump Tells Latino Group

Trump also touted his infrastructure overhaul plan, saying Democrats also are blocking that because we’ve had too many wins.

And on immigration, the GOP president accused Democrats of “filibustering” his overhaul plan.

Notably, he excluded from his remarks any mention of his White House aides helping to kill a bipartisan Senate immigration bill that hardliners on his team found unacceptable. Nor did he explain why he told a bipartisan group he would sign just about any DACA-addressing immigration bill they came up with only to help ensure their product fell short of the required 60 votes.

He also accused the opposition party of being absent on finding a permanent solution to the set-for-termination Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects nearly 700,000 undocumented individuals from deportation.

“We’re ready, willing and able,” he said of Republicans’ desire to strike a DACA deal. “Go get DACA. Go push those Democrats,” he told the lunch-hour audience at a hotel near the White House.

[Gary Cohn’s Exit Leaves Major Void in Trump’s Orbit]

But it appears Republicans also are MIA on the matter.

Talks about that Obama-era program had been married with other immigration issues, with the No. 2 Republican and Democratic leaders from each chamber leading talks toward a deal.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday the No. 2 congressional leaders have not met since the Senate failed to pass a bill last month.

“There is no formal way it was banded if you will, so it certainly hasn’t been formally disbanded,” he said. “But we haven’t met. In my view we weren’t making much progress.”

Watch: The Most Unified Republican Party Ever? Not Exactly

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.