White House initially omits key quote in immigration transcript

  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., left, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Washington.  AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Tribune Washington Bureau
Published: 1/10/2018 11:44:39 AM

WASHINGTON — The White House issued a crucial correction Wednesday to the official transcript from President Donald Trump’s lengthy White House confab that took place a day earlier.

Here’s the back story.

Trump held an unusual 55-minute televised meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday. Much of the discussion involved so-called Dreamers, an estimated 700,000 young people who were brought to the country illegally as children who are now facing deportation.

The most notable exchange came when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the San Francisco Democrat, asked Trump whether he would be “agreeable” to signing a stand-alone bill to protect the Dreamers, before moving on to a more comprehensive immigration bill.

“Yeah, I would like to do it,” Trump responded.

The statement drew widespread attention because it contradicted the Republican consensus that Dreamers’ fate needed to be part of a broader immigration bill that would include some version of Trump’s promised border wall and other immigration reforms.

During the meeting, Trump’s statement prompted House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) to intervene in an attempt to nudge Trump back to the GOP position.

“Mr. President, you need to be clear though... We have to have security,” as part of the bill.

Trump later backed away from a stand-alone Dreamer bill.

“As I made very clear today, our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border, which must be part of any DACA approval,” Trump tweeted Tuesday night.

When the official transcript was released on Tuesday, it omitted Trump’s line — “Yeah, I would like to do it” — although other portions of the transcript made the context clear. The transcript is an important historical document, part of the official government account of such meetings.

Wednesday, after media reports pointed to the missing line, it was corrected. White House officials said they were not attempting to alter the public record.

“Transcripts of the president are released as prepared by career employees in the White House stenographer’s office,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in an email. “The press office does not tamper with official transcripts, and corrects errors as needed.”


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