CHICAGO -- After flipping and flopping on the topic of immigration, perhaps Donald Trump has learned this lesson: His fans are not thirsting for a more humane, welcoming Republican candidate.
Trump’s supporters like him when he is at his most bigoted and most xenophobic. They adore his finger-pointing rants. And they love him specifically because he called Mexicans “rapists” and “murderers” — normalizing open hostility toward all immigrants, legal or not. They sure don’t want Trump backing off of his signature issue and striking a softer tone when it comes to illegal immigration.
Since the beginning, Trump has been peddling a border wall, a “deportation force” to remove unlawfully present immigrants from the country and a push to strip their U.S.-born children of citizenship. Trump’s strongest supporters have lapped it up.
No surprise then that there was an immediate backlash from his disciples when Trump made a distinction between illegal immigrants who are violent criminals and those who are not “the bad ones.” These, Trump told Fox News, will have to pay back taxes in order to stay in the U.S. “There’s no amnesty,” he said, “but we will work with them.”