Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Burlington, Iowa. (Photo credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com)
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Burlington, Iowa.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

Buzzfeed News reported on Monday that during an off-the-record discussion with the New York Times editorial board Donald Trump said his immigration views were more flexible than how he campaigns. This led to U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to call on the New York Times to release the transcript and recording of that conversation.

The Cruz campaign sent out an additional statement:

“The possibility that Trump doesn’t believe a word he says, especially on critical issues like immigration and the border, is troubling,” said Alice Stewart, Cruz Communications Director. “His entire campaign is centered on expanding and enforcing our immigration laws, and now we find out it’s possible he doesn’t mean a word of it and is just using it for ‘strategic purposes.’ Trump should demand the New York Times release the tapes tonight before Republican voters go to the polls tomorrow.
“If he doesn’t, voters have to ask themselves, ‘what is Donald Trump hiding?’ It’s a disturbing pattern. He won’t release his tax returns. He won’t confirm or deny he’s donated to extreme left-wing organizations like Planned Parenthood. When he gets caught taking a different position, he lies. What’s he hiding? Trump should immediately come clean with the voters about who he is, what he’s done, what he really believes, and what’s on those tapes.”
Rubio said:
What’s his famous issue? He is going to build a wall and be tough on Mexico, but he doesn’t tell you that he hires illegal immigrants to work on Trump Towers. He doesn’t tell you about he gave an interview toThe New York Times. He met with their editorial board and apparently told them what he really believes about immigration, what sounds like what he told them was different than what he is telling you but it was off the record. So now The New York Times can’t release the audio of that interview. Donald Trump can fix that today. Donald Trump should ask The New York Times to release the audio of his interview with him so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes about this issue that he has made the cornerstone of his campaign.

In defense of Trump here, the speculation of what is on the alleged recording and transcript may be far worse than the reality. Cruz dealt with a similar story. It was floated out there and the speculation was actually worse than what the story ended up being.

While it is off-the-record it may be better for Trump to give his blessing that it be released than allow the speculation to continue.

He discussed the story with Sean Hannity on Fox News on Monday night.

Hannity: The New York Times is claiming today that they had an off-the-record conservation with you in January. Off-the-record, by the way, and they end up leaking it – typical media.

Trump: The most dishonest media group, that is also failing too, I call it the failing New York Times. It is failing so badly that it is dying, but we did. We had a board meeting that was off-the-record and then all of a sudden they leak it and it is all over the place.

Hannity: They said, oh it’s negotiable on the wall.

Trump: Everything, by the way, it is negotiable. Things are negotiable. I’ll be honest with you. I’ll make the wall two feet shorter or something. Everything is negotiable.

Hannity: It’s not negotiable about building it.

Trump: I actually said… Building it? No that’s not negotiable.

Hannity: It’s not negotiable… Would it be negotiable about the eleven million? Let some people stay if they say register by a certain period of time?

Trump: Look, I’ve always said that we have some good people over here. They’re going to go out, but we are going to work out some system that is fair, but we either have a country or we don’t. We need a border. We need a wall. We need a wall.

After a discussion about New Hampshire’s heroin epidemic that stems from a porous southern border Trump said. “Look there’s always going to be some negotiation whether the wall is 50 feet tall or 40 feet tall.”

Trump’s statement “everything is negotiable” is concerning if applied broadly. Whether that mentality is just for the minutia of how things get done or a broader policy agenda will remain to be seen. Those discussing the New York Times meeting don’t seem to think so, and since the New York Times refuses to release the recording we’ll never know.

I have to wonder if it did come out Trump really was softer on immigration policy that he lets on if it would even matter to his supporters.

1 comment
  1. NumbersUSA just changed their 2016 Presidential Candidate Scorecard on 3/4/2016…. they entitle it…2016 Presidential Hopefuls Worker-Protection Immigration Grade Cards. I have quantified it below to make it easier to understand. They do not always explain why and how they come to the changes they do, nor do they highlight the things that changed… you have to have a copy of the previous scorecard to compare. They are also limited to the information they receive and are privy to. For example, they are not privy to the discussion between Trump and the New York Times Editorial Board. I am not sure whether they have factored the questions this raises in, but I doubt it. Here is my quantitized version…

    NumbersUSA Presidential Scorecard (www.numbersusa.com) Updated 3/4/16
    (https://www.numbersusa.com/content/elections/races/presidential/2016-presidential-hopefuls.html)

    Candidate……Grade…Points…% Difference from highest or next lowest
    Cruz……………….A…….. 32……. +39% > 2nd highest ranked
    Trump…………….B+…… 23…….. -28% < highest ranked
    Rubio……………..D+……. -3…… -109% < highest ranked
    Kasich…………….D…….. -4……. -113% < highest ranked
    Clinton……………D-……-14……. -144% < highest ranked
    Sanders………….F-……-23……. -172% < highest ranked

    More on Cruz and immigration…
    https://www.numbersusa.com/search?term=Cruz

    Here is another snapshot from another date to compare…

    NumbersUSA Presidential Scorecard (www.numbersusa.com) 2/11/16
    (https://www.numbersusa.com/…/2016-presidential-hopefuls…)

    Candidate……Grade…Points…% Difference from highest or next lowest
    Cruz……………….A…….. 31……. +29% above the 2nd highest ranked
    Trump…………….A-……. 24……. -23% < highest ranked
    Carson……………B+…… 15……. -52% < highest ranked
    Kasich…………….D…….. -4……. -113% < highest ranked
    Rubio……………..D…….. -7……. -123% < highest ranked
    Hillary…………….D……..-14……. -145% < highest ranked
    Sanders………….F……..-23……. -174% < highest ranked

    Here is my best take on what changed on March 4th. Cruz went up from a quantified total of 31 to 32 and specifically they raised his lowest rating of "Mixed" to "1st Steps" on "Support overall reduction in annual immigration". Trump went down from 24 to 23. Trumps letter grade went from A- to B+. Clinton went from an F to a D- and Rubio went up.

    A very really problem for voters like me is that these rankings may not take into account whether the candidate has a action-based record backing up their campaign rhetoric. As we are all to aware, too often candidates say one thing and do another. I think these rating should take this into consideration and it should be heavily rated. I also would like to know their giving toward relevant causes. We give, for example to a local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Being more specific, we don't give to NumbersUSA… perhaps for the same reason we will only give to specific candidates, that reason being that too often we have found the RNC and others using our giving to support RINOs and CINOs and candidates we do not like and even attacking Tea Party Candidates and conservative candidates we do like.

    There is only one candidate I can bring myself to trust, especially on immigration, and that is Cruz. I am concerned that for Trump it is all about Trump and it will be about his legacy rather than the country, similar to Obama and his Iran deal …… a horrifying legacy on par with Neville Chamberlain's infamous appeasement of Hitler and Nazi Germany that enabled Hitler to wage war.

    I think the voters have a right to know where the candidates really stand and any refusal on a candidate's part to readily divulge this type of information and silence all speculation is suspect enough to eliminate the candidate. I do NOT trust Trump. I am disturbed that some voters have lost their filters with regard to Trump and seem to support whatever he says even when that is not their own initial personal position… this is an abdication from their duty. I think they should admit that he is Not what they want, but may be the closest to what they want. I very much doubt any candidate has ever been what I wanted exactly or for that matter ever will be. However, for this election on most counts Cruz is the candidate I think most aligns with my positions. Specifically on the issue of Immigration, he is the best candidate for my positions.

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