As Republicans try desperately to hold on to their congressional majorities next Tuesday, President Donald Trump has taken a series of explosive last-minute gambits in an attempt to boost GOP candidates.
The president's 11th hour policy proposals — some of which appeared to catch congressional leaders and even White House officials off guard — relate to immigration and taxes, issues he has repeatedly used to try to excite the Republican base. He has floated a 10 percent middle-class tax cut, directed his administration to send more than 5,000 troops to the southern border as thousands of migrants seek asylum and discussed a constitutionally dubious executive order to end birthright citizenship.
Critics and even neutral observers have called the moves political and say they appear designed more to help Republicans in a challenging midterm election than to serve as serious policy solutions. While the actions could motivate some GOP voters, they could also backfire, as divisive immigration proposals such as restrictions on travel from several Muslim-majority countries have previously energized large swaths of the population against Trump.
Republicans likely need some kind of spark to hold the House, which in Democratic control would open Trump to more investigations and challenges to his policy agenda. Democrats have an inside track to flipping the 23 GOP-held seats they need to take a House majority.
Retiring Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., called Trump's latest proposal "political malpractice" as it could harm Republicans in districts with large numbers of immigrants, where the president has not hurt GOP candidates as much as in suburban, whiter districts.
Costello tweet: We all know challenges of suburban R's. The bloc of competitive R held districts less impacted by POTUS thus far are those w high # of immigrants. So now POTUS, out of nowhere, brings birthright citizenship up. Besides being basic tenet of America, it's political malpractice.
A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on criticism of Trump's recent proposals.