Schumer: Trump agreed to keep Stephen Miller out of immigration meeting

Brandon Carter

January 26, 2018

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a new interview that President Trump agreed to keep White House senior adviser Stephen Miller out of a recent White House meeting on immigration reform.

“I had suggested when [Trump] called that we just have four people in the room — myself, my chief of staff Mike Lynch, his chief of staff Gen. Kelly and the president,” Schumer told The New York Times podcast “The Daily”. “And I said if you’re going to have Stephen Miller there or somebody like that, it’s not going to work.”
“And [Trump] agreed.”

The two men met last week in an attempt to avoid a government shutdown. After the meeting, Schumer said there were still a “good number of disagreements” with Trump on immigration and spending, but that progress had been made.

But Schumer says Trump called him later Friday, before the shutdown began, and the negotiations derailed.
“Several hours later he called back. He said, ‘So, I hear we have a three-week deal.’ I said, 'No, Mr. President, no one is even talking about a three-week deal,'” Schumer said Saturday.

The Democratic leader slammed Trump after the Senate failed to pass a short-term spending bill and the government shut down, saying negotiating with Trump is “like negotiating with Jell-O.”

“It’s next to impossible,” Schumer said. “As soon as you take one step forward, the hard-right forces the president three steps back.”

Democrats have repeatedly bristled at Miller’s participation in immigration talks, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that as long as Miller was part of the bipartisan negotiations on immigration, “we’re going nowhere.”

Miller, a former aide to Jeff Sessions when he was a senator, has long been a fierce advocate for cutting the flow of immigrants and refugees into the United States. He has become one of Trump's closest aides, with both policy and speechwriting duties.

During the negotiations with Trump, Schumer said he offered to discuss funding for Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

But on Tuesday, Schumer confirmed he had withdrawn the offer, saying immigration negotiations would “have to start on a new basis.”

The White House unveiled details of Trump’s immigration plan Thursday. The plan includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants who are covered by DACA, as well as thosey who are eligible for DACA but did not apply.

The plan also includes $25 billion in funding for the border wall, as well as major changes to the legal immigration system.