Last week, right here in Phoenix, Donald Trump gave one of the most courageous speeches I've heard since Ronald Reagan roamed the White House. And it took a lot of courage to give that speech on immigration. For a couple of weeks Trump's handlers had encouraged him to back off his stance on illegal immigration. And I thought sure he would, fresh off the plane from his meeting with the President of Mexico.
I know Trump was tempted. Hillary Clinton had just gone through another miserable week of even more email and Clinton Foundation scandals. A better politician might have looked at his slight rise in the polls, and Hillary's steady decline, and decided to back off from his immigration stance.
To be objective, he did...just a little. Throughout the whole speech, which was the best speech on immigration I've ever heard, Trumped pushed hard on the "criminal alien" element. In fact, if you listened closely, or read the transcript of the speech, you might have noticed that Trump left a tiny window open for those here illegally but guilty of no other crimes than an illegal crossing. He opened that little window when he said "only after we've built the wall, hired more border patrol, and deported the criminals, only then could we look at the less "criminally innocent". In point of fact that is the same immigration policy espoused by both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
As the speech went on Trump appeared to close that window, as his words hardened and became more general in nature.
However, Trump deserves huge "cred"...for sticking to his views, even in the face of what must have been tremendous pressure to soften his stance.
And the speech itself was comprehensive...more detailed than any speech on immigration, given by any politician that I've heard for the last thirty years. He rightly covered visa overstays, E-Verify and absolutely nailed it on the the cost to taxpayers to feed, medicate, educate and incarcerate these millions of Mexican invaders. Was the speech polished? No. He repeated himself too much and talked far too long. But Trump achieved his aims, even at the cost of losing some of his supporters who advocate for a very large blanket amnesty...or at least a grand ignoring of those who violated our immigration laws.
Did Trump make hay with this speech? I think so. I believe there are far more people fed up with illegal immigration than the pollsters and liberal media would like us to think. And, through fear of peer pressure, or for fear of being labelled "racist", there are millions of folks who will go into that voting booth, their "political correctness" checked at the curtain, and will pull the lever for Trump...the only one in this race who recognizes the larger moral and societal implications of not enforcing our immigration laws.
Am I campaigning for Trump? Nope. He'd have to quit spouting idiocies (which he has nicely done for the last two weeks) and just keep making that same immigration speech he gave here in Phoenix last week for me to consider him.
We'll see. But I'm most appreciative that Trump stuck to his guns...and didn't fold to those who would like Trump to "screw America" again, as other politicians have done, and just say it's okay to violate our immigration laws. Let's hope he continues with that same principled courage the rest of the way.