Donald Trump
Credit: Evan Guest/Flickr

More than anything else, Donald Trump based his campaign on fear-mongering about undocumented immigrants. Given that focus, this conversation at a meeting yesterday that Trump had with Congressional Democrats and Republicans is astounding.

According to the West Virginia Democrat, when Trump noted that there is no current immigration legislation under consideration on Capitol Hill, another senator in attendance, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), mentioned the 2013 bill.

Alexander also noted that the 2013 bill had passed with 68 votes, Manchin recalled.

“Well, that sounds like something good and you all agreed, 68? What happened to it?” Trump said, according to Manchin.

The man who ran on what this country should do about immigration didn’t know anything about the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill that was negotiated by the Senate’s bi-partisan Gang of Eight and passed that body with 68 votes – only to die in the House. In case anyone needs a reminder, that bill didn’t just contain a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, it also included this:

The 2013 immigration bill carried a $50 billion price tag and would have doubled the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border and required the construction of 700 miles of fencing there. It also would have placed new obligations on employers, who would be required to check the legal status of all job applicants using the government’s E-Verify system.

Obviously Trump didn’t know about any of that as he travelled around the country talking about building a wall.

This is the kind of ignorance I wrote about yesterday. It is truly breathtaking in scope. And yet Trump is happy to bloviate about topics he knows nothing about – as we’ve seen him do on things like crime and immigration.

Almost a year ago the president gave us a clue about what he relies on rather than actual information when he said, “my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.” Trump trusts his instincts – which are the source of his lies.

Those instincts were probably developed very early on in his life by the person Trump has often referred to as his most important mentor – his father, Fred Trump. Aside from being a real estate developer, there is evidence that Fred attended a KKK rally in 1927 when he was 21 years old and regularly discriminated against people of color in his housing developments.

It was during the suit filed by DOJ against the Trumps for discrimination that Donald met his other mentor – Roy Cohn, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man. Cohn was hired by Trump to handle that case and went on to become one of his closest confidants.

These are the formative relationships for Trump that fed the development of his instincts – the one’s he relies on more than information and facts.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.