McAuliffe: Trump ‘is being run by Stephen Miller’

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Sunday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE for backing away from a deal to fix the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying the president is being controlled by his senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

“A vast majority of Americans are for this. They want to see it get done. And this is the president, and the president wants it. He said to [Sen.] Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks Senate confirms Rosen for No. 2 spot at DOJ Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips MORE [D-Calif.] in the meeting in the White House the other day, she asked for a clean bill. He said, ‘yes, I want it,’ ” McAuliffe said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to a discussion on immigration last week.

“He wants it. He is being run by Stephen Miller. The president, what does the president want? He wants a deal to announce. And he wants his approval ratings to go up,” McAuliffe added.

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Trump announced last year that he would rescind DACA, which allows certain immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to live and work here without fear of deportation. 

Last week, Trump hosted a bipartisan discussion on immigration reform, and called on those in attendance to craft a “bill of love” to solve the issue. He indicated he would sign whatever those in attendance submitted to him.

The White House pushed back on a bipartisan proposal late last week, however, and Trump has in recent days attacked Democrats for their role in DACA negotiations, claiming they don’t want to reach a deal.

McAuliffe said there would be a moral cost to not addressing the future of DACA, as well as an economic cost.

“If you’re sitting at home today, it’s going to hurt our economy. We’re doing something I would conceive as very immoral,” McAuliffe said of the failure to pass legislation on DACA.

“Congress, start doing something. And the president wants it. He’s said he wanted it, so go ahead and do it. Forget Stephen Miller, Stephen Miller did not get elected the president of the United States of America,” McAuliffe added. 

Lawmakers have expressed concerns that Miller, who is a hard-liner on immigration policy, poses a threat to a potential deal to address DACA.

McAuliffe, 60, who concluded his term as governor on Friday, on Sunday also teased a possible White House bid in 2020, saying he dreams of the opportunity to debate Trump, adding that tickets would have to be sold for such a debate.