Tags: Donald Trump | Immigration | Charlie Dent | Trump | DACA

Rep. Dent: Trump on 'Right Track' With DACA

Image: Rep. Dent: Trump on 'Right Track' With DACA
Rep. Charlie Dent speaks at a presser on Capitol Hill. (AP)

Monday, 18 Sep 2017 10:59 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Days after he announced he will be retiring from Congress in 2018, Rep. Charlie Dent — a leader of Republican moderates who has often clashed with President Trump —told Newsmax that he felt the president was “on the right track” in making a deal with Democratic lawmakers on DACA.

“I’m encouraged,” Dent told me. “The deal he struck was fine. It puts much of the language in President Obama’s executive order [permitting children of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S] in the form of legislation.”

Dent added, “the details need to be worked out — especially with regard to border security — but [Trump] is on the right track.”

Such words of praise for Trump are, to say the least, incongruous for Charlie Dent. As head of the “Tuesday group” of centrist Republican U.S. representatives, the Pennsylvania lawmaker has frequently clashed with the president on issues ranging from Trump’s proposed travel ban on Muslims to his trade policy to what Dent called “the terribly executed firing of [FBI Director] Jim Comey.”

Most forcefully, the Pennsylvanian disagrees with Trump’s approach to Russia. In his words, “Russia is a threat to us . . . Vladimir Putin ia a bad actor. The proof of that is how he has tried to undermine the U.S. in Europe and the Middle East. I’m glad the president reversed himself on our commitment to NATO. But he’s still too conciliatory to Putin.”

Asked if he feels there was Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, Dent replied: “There was definitely Russian involvement, and I have been briefed by reliable intelligence sources. As to who it held or intended to help, I have no idea and I’m not going to speculate. That’s up to Robert Mueller to find out.”

But, somewhat surprisingly, Dent finds much he can agree on with the president he admits he has “only met a couple of times and don’t know that well. He’s right about wanting to rebuild our infrastructure and I like his executive orders dealing with regulatory reform,” said Dent. “And he supports maintaining the Export-Import Bank. He’s also headed in the right direction on tax reform.”

Dent, however, does not see tax reform going as far as Trump wants it to go. He does not see Congress abolishing the estate tax, as the administration wants, but, rather, “lowering the rate, and extending the exemptions, as we did in 2013.”

Days before Dent announced his surprise retirement Sept. 8, Trump supporter and conservative State Rep. Justin Simmons announced a primary challenge to the seven-term congressman. Simmons spoke before a cheering rally of 200 supporters and drew the loudest cheers by praising Trump.

Did Dent fear possible defeat at the hands of the right in the primary next May?

“No, and my decision had nothing to do with politics,” he said. “Since 2013, my wife and children have had regular conversations about my stepping down and doing something else. Over the summer, we decided that this would be my last term and I made the announcement last week. I never sensed any serious threat if I ran again.”

As for rumors he might resign from Congress early and let party committees in Pennsylvania’s 8th District select a nominee (who presumably would be a fellow moderate), Dent replied: “No, I don’t have any plans to leave Congress until 2018, and I have no plans about my future.”

Inevitably, Dent is asked what the future is for Republican moderates in a party that is increasingly nominating right-of-center candidates.

“You get discouraged when you see a political system that doesn’t seem to reward people who want compromise,” he said. “But look — we’ve got plenty of congressmen in the Tuesday group — Elise Stefanik [New York], Leonard Lance [New Jersey], Carlos Cubelo [Florida] and my three fellow Pennsylvanians, Pat Meehan, Ryan Costello, and Brian Fitzpatrick. They are doing fine and will be around for years to come.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Days after he announced he will be retiring from Congress in 2018, Rep. Charlie Dent — a leader of Republican moderates who has often clashed with President Trump —told Newsmax that he felt the president was “on the right track” in making a deal with Democratic lawmakers on DACA.
Charlie Dent, Trump, DACA
Monday, 18 Sep 2017 10:59 PM
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