President Donald Trump is using Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients as political targets, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., said Tuesday on CNN's "New Day."
Trump uses the recipients, nicknamed "Dreamers," to counteract news that is negative toward him, said Espaillat, the first former undocumented immigrant to serve in Congress.
"Every time [special counsel Robert] Mueller puts up the heat on him, he pivots to immigration. When he has another stormy day with Stormy Daniels, he pivots to immigration. So this is a way of scapegoating a good part of the country — 800,000 Dreamers," Espaillat said.
The congressman said Trump's recent comments about immigration and DACA show that he feels like he is under siege, and also that he wants to appeal to his base supporters.
"I think he wants to throw red meat at his base, like Caligula at the Colosseum … He continues to do that at the same time he wants to underestimate the importance of the seriousness of the Mueller investigation of the current crisis of the day.
"So he goes after these 800,000 young people, that most Americans feel should stay in our nation," he said.
The president sent a number of tweets Monday in which he criticized Democrats, and called on lawmakers to use the "nuclear option" to pass a border bill.
Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., said Tuesday that he believes Trump is still open to negotiation of a DACA deal.
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