White House walks back Trump's rejection of immigration compromise

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE in fact supports both of the House GOP immigration bills expected to receive votes next week and misspoke earlier Friday when he said that he would oppose a compromise measure between centrists and conservatives, a White House official told The Hill.

"Yes, we fully support both the Goodlatte bill and the Leadership bill. The President misunderstood the question this morning on Fox News," the source said in an email. "He was commenting on the discharge petition/dreamers bill — not the new package. He would 100 percent sign either Goodlatte or the other bill."

Centrists had tried to use a discharge petition to force leadership to move on four different immigration proposals, including one backed by Democrats that protects so-called Dreamers, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Interior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (R-Wis.) and the rest of House leadership managed to block that attempt earlier this week, and will instead bring forth a pair of immigration bills, including a more hard-line measure from Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteWill Congress ever hold our federal agencies accountable for contempt? Lots of love: Charity tennis match features lawmakers teaming up across the aisle Dems try to end hearing on bias against conservatives in tech MORE (R-Va.).

Other White House officials who spoke to Breitbart News attempted to deny that Trump misspoke and claimed he does not actually back the compromise proposal. 

“President Trump made his views on the Ryan amnesty bill very clear today,” one official told Breitbart. “Unless he says something different publicly, it should be presumed that he knows exactly what he was talking about and what he was saying and why.”

The White House later released an on-the-record statement from spokesman Raj Shah reiterating that the president misunderstood the question on Fox News.

“The president fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill. In this morning's interview, he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, and not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills,” Shah said. 

The president said Friday morning during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” that he was looking at both pieces of legislation, but "certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one."

His comments resulted in chaos on Capitol Hill, with House Republicans scrapping their plans to whip the legislation — released Thursday evening — crafted following meetings between leadership, centrists and top members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. 

"We want to get clarity on the president’s position on this bill,” chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling Musical instrument manufacturer threatens to move overseas due to Trump tariffs This week: House GOP caught in immigration limbo MORE (R-N.C.) told reporters. “Republicans are not going to take on immigration without the support and endorsement of President Trump.”

Both moderates leading the discharge petition efforts, which would circumvent leadership and force votes on four separate proposals, and conservatives noted the bill was still a work in progress. 

Despite the compromise bill coming together following meetings between negotiations from all factions of the GOP, conservatives have expressed concern that it lacks provisions to address e-verify, the guest worker program and "sanctuary cities." 

The president took to Twitter Friday afternoon to express his support for House Republicans' efforts to come to an agreement on immigration that meets his four pillars: a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, an end to "chain migration," the elimination of the diversity visa lottery system and strengthening border security.

The measure also ends the separation of immigrant children and parents at the border, closes “catch and release” immigration loopholes and contains a trigger mechanism to halt the new visas for Dreamers if Congress denies funding for the wall.

— Scott Wong and Jordan Fabian contributed to this report, which was updated at 5:46 p.m.