The White House sent out a correction Wednesday to a transcript of President Donald Trump’s meeting with members of Congress in which he explicitly agreed to a Democratic proposal to fix Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program (DACA) before tackling immigration reform.
The White House said the omission was an innocent mistake, and explained that the stenographer’s office prepares the transcripts.
“Transcripts of the President are released as prepared by career employees in the White House stenographer’s office. The press office does not tamper with official transcripts, and corrects errors as needed,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah.
In the corrected version, which the White House sent out Wednesday morning—nearly 24 hours after the meeting took place—Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Trump about the possibility of passing a legislative solution for DACA before turning to immigration reform, which would include issues like tougher border security.
Trump responded, “I would like — I would like to do that. Go ahead. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first. “
In the initial version, which the White House released on Tuesday, that comment from Trump was omitted. Instead, the quote read, “I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.”
DACA allows some 100,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay in the country without fear of deportation.
The exchange seemed to alarm Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said, “Mr. President, you need to be clear though… We have to have security, as the Secretary would tell you.”
Read the full exchange below:
SENATOR FEINSTEIN: I would. As you know, we tried for comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate. It was on the floor, there were a number of amendments, it got a lot of attention in the judiciary committee, and then the House didn’t take it up.
I think there needs to be a willingness on both sides. And I think — and I don’t know how you would feel about this, but I’d like to ask the question: What about a clean DACA bill now, with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure? Like we did back — oh, I remember when Kennedy was here and it was really a major, major effort, and it was a great disappointment that it went nowhere.
THE PRESIDENT: I remember that. I have no problem. I think that’s basically what Dick is saying. We’re going to come up with DACA. We’re going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.
SENATOR FEINSTEIN: Would you be agreeable to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I would like — I would like to do that.* Go ahead. I think a lot of people would like to see that, but I think we have to do DACA first.
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY: Mr. President, you need to be clear though. I think what Senator Feinstein is asking here: When we talk about just DACA, we don’t want to be back here two years later. We have to have security, as the Secretary would tell you.
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY: But I think that’s what she’s saying.
SENATOR FEINSTEIN: What do you think I’m saying?
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY: I’m thinking you’re saying DACA is not secure. Are you talking about security as well?
SENATOR FEINSTEIN: Well, I think if we have some meaningful comprehensive immigration reform, that’s really where the security goes. And if we can get the DACA bill, because March is coming and people are losing their status every day —
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY: But, let’s be honest. Security was voted on just a few years ago, and, no disrespect, there’s people in the room on the other side of the aisle who voted for it. If I recall, Senator Clinton voted for it. So I don’t think that’s comprehensive; I think that’s dealing with DACA at the same time. I think that’s really what the President is making.
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