Trump's Immigration Push Muddies GOP's Tax Cut Message

President Trump has increasingly moved the national conversation toward immigration by working to send National Guard troops to border states, setting up a conundrum for congressional Republicans who were hoping to run on the tax cuts they successfully passed this year.

Trump’s renewed immigration push could move vulnerable GOP lawmakers off the script that Republican groups have already spent millions of dollars writing through ad campaigns touting the benefits of tax reform. And it could put centrist Republicans in a difficult position if Trump demands his party revisit controversial restrictions on legal immigration while its members are trying to hold onto suburban districts that contain energized Democratic constituents.

Many of Trump’s senior aides and allies have spent months touting tax reform as the foundation of the GOP’s midterm strategy. Republicans balked last month when Trump began to threaten various countries with tariffs on a wide variety of imports due to the risk those measures posed to the economic gains the tax bill has notched since its passage late last year.

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist, said Trump’s push to place troops along the southern border and his attention to the problems posed by illegal immigration could offer Republican voters the kind of rallying cry that the antiseptic issue of tax reform can’t provide.

“GOP voters are complacent, and there is a feeling that the tax bill won’t help us hold the House,” O’Connell said. “You need more than the bill to hold the House.”

Besides giving voters a visual representation of Trump’s commitment to border security, the deployment of troops to the border could have the added benefit of “drawing a contrast” between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of immigration, O’Connell argued.

Trump should “remind [voters] how radically liberal the Democratic Party is” when it comes to immigration, he added.

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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