Donald Trump
Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/flickr

Well, lo and behold, President Trump was finally shamed into backing himself out of a corner rather than tripling down.

President Donald Trump said he plans to sign an executive action on Wednesday that would end the administration’s policy of separating migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning the president’s previous stance that only Congress can fix the problem.

“The Republicans want security and insist on security for our country. And we will have that,” Trump said during a meeting at the White House with lawmakers and officials. “At the same time we have compassion and want to keep families together. It’s very important. I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that.”

He added that he hopes his action will “matched by legislation.”

How bad was this fiasco?

This freaking bad:

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, has resigned from his post as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee’s Finance Committee, sources close to the RNC told ABC News.

In his resignation letter to Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair, Cohen cited the ongoing special counsel investigation as one reason for his departure. ABC News has reviewed the email.

“This important role requires the full time attention and dedication of each member. Given the ongoing Mueller and SDNY investigations, that simply is impossible for me to do,” he wrote.

Cohen also criticized the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border, the first time he’s distanced himself from the president.

“As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching,” Cohen wrote. “While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

I’m not sure of the timing, but Trump’s decision will at least improve his odds of keeping Cohen from flipping purely out of moral outrage at his former boss’s cruelty towards children. And that’s not nothing, given the stakes for the president.

Of course, while it’s a good thing that the government will stop making the problem worse, they have a very huge cleanup ahead of them. I’m assuming pressure to find and reunite thousands of children with their families will be unrelenting. And this is a significant strategic defeat too, because Trump was hoping to use the moral catastrophe he created as a way to force Congress to give him an immigration bill that would be to his liking. That’s over now.

The White House remains hopeful that any legislation to end family separation will also include at least some of the president’s other priorities on immigration. But officials are ready to accept a more narrow legislative fix if they cannot win bigger concessions from Congress — an apparent recognition of the political risks of letting the uproar drag on.

These people are conscienceless idiots and they are rapidly destroying the morals of a good forty percent of the country who appear willing to follow wherever the administration leads and rationalize anything they do. But, at least here, they finally went too far.

Way too far.

Too far even for Michael Cohen.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at