Littwin: Trump’s plan for sanctuary cities must mean he actually believes his own lies

EL PASO, - MARCH 31: Detained migrants are loaded into a U.S. Border Patrol van at the border of the United States and Mexico on March 31, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. U.S. President Donald Trump is now threatening to relocate migrants and asylum-seekers to "sanctuary cities." (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As we all know, Donald Trump is the sociopathic liar of our time and, just possibly, of any time. It’s not only that he lies so frequently, but that he lies so brazenly. But knowing that he lies doesn’t solve one the great puzzles of the Trump era — whether the guy himself actually believes anything that comes out of his mouth. 

This week — a tumultuous one even by Trump standards — we were given an important clue. We have go back to the beginning to understand it, back to the down-the-Trump-Tower-escalator announcement speech in which Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers and worse. It set the tone for the entire Trump campaign.

At the time, though — granted, a more innocent time — the Trump lie sounded to me less like Steve-King-style bigotry than simple demagoguery meant to exploit anti-immigrant feeling. Whatever your views on Trump’s level of bigotry — and mine have changed — it doesn’t explain Trump’s latest proposal to dump ICE detainees onto the streets of so-called sanctuary cities. By the way, I think “dump” is the correct word. 

The idea is, of course, insane — sending the detainees to cities they’d probably like to live in anyway, on buses that may or may not come to a full stop before dumping them. And it’s probably illegal —or at least that’s what the people from ICE and Department of Homeland Security have been telling Trump, which is why the president is busily firing so many of them. Trump reportedly even considered sending agents into Mexico to arrest people marching in the caravans and sending them to sanctuary cities. I don’t know if Trump knows the briar patch story, but this is briar patch territory. Where does he think the marchers want to go?

And more than insane, the plan — if you can call it that— rests on the belief that Democratic leaders in San Francisco and LA and New York and Denver secretly oppose immigration into their already diverse communities and that, like Trump himself, they believe the families escaping the violence of Central America are rapists and drug dealers and MS-13 members sent here to destroy civil society. He must not believe sanctuary cities are sanctuary cities, with, in many cases, their teeming numbers of immigrants. He thinks it’s a con which is, I guess, how con men think.

What big-city mayors do fear is that this would all be done without any planning. We don’t know whether Trump talking about asylum seekers or illegally-crossed-the-border detainees or both or if he knows the difference. But, in any case, it fits in with the expected line of Trump cruelty and indifference to the fate of those crossing the border. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says Trump shouldn’t use the immigrants, including their kids, as “pawns.” The mayor of Seattle writes an op-ed in The Washington Post welcoming refugees and pointing to how past immigrants have helped build Seattle into a great city.

You may remember that The Washington Post broke this story, saying that Trump had twice proposed dumping the detainees, but that it was rejected. When the White House was asked about the story, they called it old news, which is, I guess, a step up from fake news. But Trump didn’t see it that way. He’s desperate, of course, to do something to distract from the issues at the border, which he has personally turned into a crisis, shutting off aid from Central American counties, threatening to close the border, sending in the Army to roll wire, and on and on. One of his more unbelievable lies was that terrorists were marching with the caravans. I am thinking that for your average terrorist, that’s a hell of a lot of walking.

The thing is, Trump apparently loves this plan, and when it got roundly ripped after breaking in the papers, that only encouraged him to breathe new life into it. And so he tells us:  If Democrats don’t change immigration laws, “we’ll bring the illegals — I call them the illegals — we’ll bring them to sanctuary cities & let that particular area take care of it … California certainly is always saying, ‘Oh we want more people,’ and they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we’ll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply — and let’s see if they’re so happy.”

Certainly, Trump is desperate. A court just ruled that Trump couldn’t leave asylum seekers trapped in Mexico. It seems that seeking asylum in America is legal and one of the basic tenets of American democracy. CNN just broke the story, though, that Trump had told Border Protection Commmissioner Kevin McAleenan he would pardon him if he were sent to jail for blocking asylum seekers from entering the United States. The story then goes on to say that Trump might have been joking.

Whether or not he was joking, it is a joke, if a bad one. You could add it to the list of Trump’s possible impeachable offenses and of Trump’s disrespect for the rule of law.

And when the White House denied Trump ever said it, jokingly or not, you can add that to the list of Trump-related lies. I’m pretty sure Trump knows not to believe that one.


  1. Mike,
    You still do not get it. President Donald Trump is eating your breakfast, and you don’t eve know it. His threat to “dump illegal aliens” (my words) into Sanctuary Cities, and States, did exactly what he wanted. You will please note the 9th Circuit Court that has given California Judges their bans, and Stop Trump orders, (Appeals Court) that Donald could reject those refugee seekers back on Mexico, to wait out their court dates.
    ——–With all the ICE- Homeland Defense facilities filled, and more caravans coming north, those folks will be in Mexico, and be fed, housed, take jobs, whatever at Mexican funding. Just check out all the positions you have taken, telling us how Donald lies. You have been so wrong, since you do not seem to know what salesmen do, every day, NEGOIATE, THREATEN, STATE HIGH FUNDING, AND THEN DICKER WITH CLIENTS. In business world, that is normal policy, which our federal house and senate, seem to have forgotten. But then most of them are lawyers, who set excessive rates, and clients have to take it or leave it. Too many were elected on personality, not knowledge of USA history, government, or procedures. And they spent a lot of money, buying votes to get their dictatorial powers. Check donors who are capitalistic kings or queens, who buy influence.

  2. Even if you think it a brilliant play, the fact that the President is threatening to bring harm to Americans should trouble you. Imagine the Trump voters in those “areas” hearing Trump threatening to flood their communities with “rapists and murderers”.

  3. I think 20,000 Guatemalans delivered to Denver would be a huge boost to the economy.
    The only question is: where does HandOnCock sign up? Is there a sign-up sheet on the Dumpster®’s desk?

  4. I think this is an opportunity for Democratic communities to step up and show the USA and Trumpers what inclusivity and opportunity look like. Let’s embrace 1000’s of these struggling, huddling immigrants into our communities in an organized fashion. ID’s, housing, training and English acquisition opportunities. Our communities need diligent workers in food service, Amazon and countless other employers. We could do this. Teachers, a backbone of all communities, are the natural leaders to be tasked with this labor of love, Americanism and humanity. Let’s do this.

  5. “The mayor of Seattle writes an op-ed in The Washington Post welcoming refugees and pointing to how past immigrants have helped build Seattle into a great city.”

    LOL. Seattle’s one of the most dysfunctional cities in the US, a Calhoun rat experiment of Olympian proportions with the worst income inequality gap in the state of Washington.

  6. sounds great.. now open your own doors and your own bank account and pay for your idealistic fantasy yourself….. no border equals no nation… no nation equals chaos and savagery…. America is the beacon of light on the hill, yet the left wants to destroy this in their quest for ultimate, globalist power… do you read much of history? Our nation is not dead yet, but it is headed in that direction.. when the will of the people is replaced by the crushing expansiveness of government (the left’s agenda) America will be no more…

  7. “As the Trump-Kremlin conspiracy vanishes in a flash and puff of smoke, the colossal absurdity of it suddenly becomes clearer.” –


    Mr. Littwin has characterized as “insane” a proposal by our president which appears to be a win-win situation.

    It’s a win for the detainees who would be sent to so-called sanctuary cities that even Mr. Littwin admits “they’d probably like to live in anyway”

    It’s also a win for the sanctuary cities many of whom (e.g. New York, Philadelphia, Seattle) have already indicated a willingness to accept the detainees. Plus, these cities are less likely to cooperate with federal officials carrying out deportation orders.

    How can Mr. Littwin describe as an “expected line of (President)Trump cruelty and indifference to the fate of those crossing the border.” a proposal that would send detainees to sanctuary cities even he agrees, “they’d probably like to live in anyway” and cities that very likely have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States?

    Briar patch, here they come!

  8. I can’t speak about the other cities but in San Frabcisco’s case the term “Sanctuary city” must sound like a cruel oxymoron to the thousands of people sleeping rough on his streets. Trump is right to call out the hypocrisy of cities that claim to be the benefactor of the underdog but can’t take care of their own, and certainly can’t support any more.

  9. This president* has actually given us something here.

    He’s unwittingly provided the country with a national Racist Rorschach Test.

    Your results will be duly noted for future reference.

  10. I think that part of what the president of all of us is doing is attempting to pwn the Libs by giving us a sincerity test.

    I’ve found it very noticeable that a standard conservative response to liberal initiatives is to question liberal sincerity. I don’t think it’s just divigation. I think they imagine this to be a very cutting and relevant argument.

    Our president clearly thinks that everything is about him, and about jejune contests with his manly manliness. A lot of his adherents seem to think the same thing. And I suppose that in this context that makes sincerity tests more relevant. But I think conservatives are incorrect about this.

    I’m reminded that on December 14, Senator Cory Gardner announced that Democrats were proposing policy and working to block Trump based on motives of revenge. Must make it hard to be the Senate’s fifth-most bilateral legislator– or maybe testimony to the current nature of the Senate.

    Since December I’ve been trying to get an appointment to talk with the senator about Democrats’ motives, and about the economic category of public goods and services. Curiously, his calendar is always full.

  11. Stopping at nothing to be assholes and “own the libs” comes with the collateral damage in the form of our country becoming less stable, less secure and more like a banana republic every single day of this administration. Congratulations.

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