WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Donald Trump finally rolled out some specifics in his plan to combat illegal immigration, following a year of promising to do so.
Supporters feared a flip-flop. Rivals warned of double-talk.
In his “major” speech Wednesday evening in Arizona, Trump did his best to assuage supporters’ fears and silence critics.
He got semi-specific, saying his 10-point plan would include a multitude of initiatives, including:
- “Special deportation task force” focused on removing criminals
- Triple the number of immigration agents
- Impose ideological screening tests
- Crack down on foreign visitors who overstay their visas
- Build a “beautiful” border wall.
“He did not commit to deporting every undocumented immigrant living in the US as he previously had,” reports CNN, “but vowed that immigrants living in the US illegally would never have a path to legal status under his presidency.”
By Thursday morning, Twitter was full of mixed reaction, ranging from adulation to utter terror.
‘Most magnificent speech ever given’
Trump’s most loyal supporters were, unsurprisingly, thrilled with his hardline speech.
A vocal conservative contingent used social media to praise the content and delivery of the Republican nominee’s address.
Ann Coulter, author of Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole, tweeted that Trump gave “the most magnificent speech ever given.”
Trolls inundated her feed with warnings of getting high before tweeting and images of Adolf Hitler.
‘American horror show’
Other left-leaning media figures weren’t so impressed.
Mother Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery, queried of Trump’s ideological litmus tests: “Do we check the models for ideological certification?”
Rebecca Traister of New York Magazine described the primetime speech as “an American horror show w deep roots,” warning of a trend toward castigating those who are, or appear, different.
Left-wing reporter Judd Legum of ThinkProgress summed it up by saying, “Joking aside, this was the scariest hour+ of the campaign so far.”
Trump’s true purpose
There are certainly still questions about the implantation of Trump’s immigration plan, but he can feel comfortable knowing that he fully satisfied his base.
The practical intent was to soften Trump’s talk of mass deportations while maintaining a razor-sharp tone on the overall issue, tweets New York Times political reporter Alex Burns.
As for reaction among independent and Hispanic voters – both of which are crucial to winning a general election – the full effect remains to be seen in upcoming polls.
However, we do know that several major Hispanic backers have already pulled their support following the speech, according to Politico, and the fallout could continue to spread.
Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales