GOP lawmaker: Trump 'not quite popular enough' to advance an immigration bill

GOP lawmaker: Trump 'not quite popular enough' to advance an immigration bill
© Francis Rivera
A conservative House Republican said during a district town hall this week that President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE isn't popular enough among the electorate to muscle immigration reform through Congress.
 
Rep. Glenn GrothmanGlenn S. GrothmanGOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill GOP lawmaker: Trump 'not quite popular enough' to advance an immigration bill MORE (R-Wis.) said during a town hall in Neenah, Wis., that an overhaul of immigration policies would need bipartisan support. He suggested that's a hurdle Trump would have difficulty overcoming.
 
"I think the solution is going to have to come from a popular president who can drive through the solutions that we want. Right now, our president is not quite popular enough to do it," Grothman said, drawing shocked laughter from the audience.
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Grothman emphasized that he supports building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as Trump has pledged, and ending birthright citizenship. But Grothman said that in order to move an immigration reform bill that would address those issues, along with asylum policies, the president would need a higher public approval rating.
 
The three-term GOP congressman suggested that Trump could achieve it if his popularity were around 57 or 58 percent. Trump's approval rating has hovered in the 40s for most of his tenure, and the current RealClearPolitics average shows his approval rating around 44 percent.
 
"If you're going to do it, you're going to have to get almost all the Republicans on board and some Democrats on board. And he does not have the popularity right now to drive that through," Grothman said of Trump.
 
Grothman noted that the House could pass an immigration bill with a simple majority, but the Senate would need a bipartisan coalition with 60 votes. Right now, Grothman said, Trump doesn't have that kind of influence.
 
"In the long run, he's going to need the Senate on board for some of that stuff, which means he's got to be popular enough that people are afraid to vote against him. And right now he's not there," Grothman said.
 
Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric against Democrats in recent days, accusing them of having "treasonous" views on immigration. The president wrote in one tweet last week that "I think what the Democrats are doing with the Border is TREASONOUS." 
 
"Their Open Border mindset is putting our Country at risk. Will not let this happen!" Trump tweeted.
 
Trump on Wednesday morning called on Democrats to return from the two-week Easter recess to work on immigration, tweeting that "Democrats in Congress must return from their Vacations and change the Immigration Laws, or the Border, despite the great job being done by Border Patrol, will only get worse."
 
 
"It’s complicated, but it isn’t hard to do if you have good intentions," Pelosi said at the House Democratic retreat. "And I’m not giving up on the president on this."