Donald Trump and his campaign keep teasing that he will soon give a speech laying out his exact positions on a number of key immigration issues, but initial plans have fallen through.
This all started Saturday when Trump told a group of Hispanic advisers that he would give an immigration speech in Colorado on Thursday and urged them to attend, according to several attendees. On Monday, aides said that there would be no speech on Thursday but that Trump would participate in a lengthy, immigration-focused town hall in Texas on Tuesday that would air on Fox News over two nights. The speech cancellation was at least partially blamed on scheduling confusion as a new campaign manager took over Trump’s operation. But it also came as Trump signaled that he was willing to change his stance on deporting the 11 million immigrants illegally living in the United States.
“We inherited a schedule,” Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Tuesday on Fox News in explaining the sudden change. “And although I think it’s a great idea to have that kind of speech, and certainly put together a full plan, immigration is such a complex issue, and Mr. Trump has been taking the counsel of many different people on this. He obviously had some very strong feelings and policy prescriptions with respect to immigration. But he’s speaking to people to understand how to execute on those ideas.”
On Wednesday afternoon, campaign representatives told the Arizona Republic that Trump would give a speech in Phoenix on Aug. 31 that would outline his policy positions on illegal immigration. As news of that speech circulated, confusion broke out: A few reporters tweeted that campaign representatives had confirmed that Trump would give a new immigration speech in Phoenix next week, while others tweeted that a campaign spokesperson said there would not be an immigration speech.
Late Wednesday, the Arizona Republic reported that the campaign had “backtracked” and now said that Trump would give a speech in Phoenix on Aug. 31 but that the focus would be “post-primary unity,” not immigration policy.
On Thursday morning, Trump told reporters that he planned to give an immigration speech “over the next week or so.” His comment came as a few reporters were allowed into a meeting that Trump held at Trump Tower in Manhattan with members of the Republican Leadership Initiative, a Republican National Committee program that trains millennial and minority Republicans.
“I will be doing that, I’d say, over the next week or so,” Trump said when asked whether he plans to give an immigration policy speech. “I look forward to it. I’m very strong on illegal immigration. Don’t let the media fool the media. I’m very strong on illegal immigration. You have to be, you have no choice. You either have a country or you don’t. We either have borders or we don’t. The wall is very important. So I’ll be making a speech on that — I would say over the next week — laying out an exact plan, and I think people will have great respect for the plan.”
As of Thursday evening, the campaign had not yet scheduled the speech.