On Wednesday night, Donald Trump dropped the biggest flip-flop of his entire campaign by walking back his harsh immigration stance. Instead of sticking with his mass deportation plan — which won him many supporters — Trump declared his intent to only boot the “bad” immigrants. As for the “good” ones, he thinks “we can work with them” as long as they pay back taxes and don’t mind the Wall, which will still be built. And the responses from Trump allies haven’t been surprising. Ann Coulter unleashed a tweet storm to mock her candidate’s reversal. Then spokesperson Katrina Pierson trotted over to CNN and (as usual) denied everything.
By now, cable news show hosts know what to expect from Pierson, and Erica Hill was up for the challenge. Her job was to keep a straight face while the others (including Ted Cruz ally Amanda Carpenter) freely laughed as Pierson insisted that Trump hasn’t “changed his position on immigration, he’s just changed the words he’s saying.” Hill gently tried to tell Pierson that, yes, “This is a shift, a flip-flop, whatever words you want to use … there is a definite different message that we’re hearing now.” Instead of the promised mass deportation of 11 million immigrants, Trump decided that would be too hard on people, so he’s gonna play nicer. That’s a huge change.
But Pierson was adamant that Trump is still saying exactly what he’s been saying all along, and Trump has simply grabbed a metaphorical thesaurus because “Everyone on the news is saying that he is a bigot and that he is a racist because of the words he uses.” And she said that Trump will continue to follow the law and “start with the criminals.” Once again, Pierson is simply sound and fury, but perhaps, in a roundabout way, she’s giving a clue to why Trump decided to call Hillary Clinton a “bigot” on Wednesday. Because if he labels her one, maybe folks won’t use that word to describe him again? Perhaps it’s best not to overthink this one.