Tuesday, August 23, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Trump Awkwardly Attempts Major Immigration Flip-Flop in Front of Live Audience in Austin

Protesters strike again.
UPDATE: See embedded video below.

I was able to attend the taping of Sean Hannity and Donald Trump's two-part "town hall" on immigration at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin on Tuesday afternoon. Since the press wasn't officially welcome at this event and one segment isn't scheduled to air until tomorrow, I'd say this bit of news counts as an exclusive:
Here's what happened.

The first segment (which just aired) featured several mothers who lost their children due to violent acts or accidents by undocumented immigrants. It was incredibly heartbreaking to hear these stories one after the other, but it was equally heartbreaking that their sadness was being so obviously exploited by Fox News.
Here's the thing though: Just minutes before that, Trump made his first immigration pivot attempt of the day. His hard-edged but shallow refrains of "follow the law!" got some applause, but the words about "softening" his stance resulted mostly in confused silence mixed with a few yells of "don't back down!" from the crowd. If it had stopped there, it would have been awkward enough. But he was just getting started.

In the second half of the taping (which aired unedited Wednesday night) Trump literally polls the audience on whether he should flip flop...and it doesn't go well. Watch the full six-minutes of awkwardness starting around the 5:00 mark:

It was really something, and being there I can tell you that the overriding feeling in the room was "Wait...what?".
This display made clear that this pathetic flip-flop attempt is the worst of both worlds for Trump: Some of his hardcore supporters might be begrudgingly talked into it, but most of them will feel betrayed or confused. Meanwhile, everyone else knows that this is a transparently desperate move from a losing politician...and they aren't changing their vote.

Honestly, I think he might end up flip-flopping on the flip flop before this week is done.

Here are some additional tweets from the event:


  1. Also: Hannity warmed up the Austin crowd by asking "Which candidate am I?" before pretending to trip and fall onto a chair. I kid you not.

  2. Wow, kudos for sneaking into the "lion's den". It sounds like Trump always needs approval from his audience.

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  5. This is confusing. Were they supposed to stand to support kicking them out, or stand to support them staying?

    ""Whoever thinks they should all get kicked out, stand up." Several stand up and one fellow in particular has no problem loudly voicing his displeasure. But then finally, after sensing that Trump really needed to be saved, a solid chunk of the crowd stands up and applauds in favor of letting some of them stay. But it was far from an overwhelming sentiment, and felt more like mercy applause to just end the awkwardness and move on. It was really something."

    1. Both, and it was confusing. First they asked the "kick them out" people to stand, then immediately after it was the "let them stay" people. It was a mess.

  6. yeah he keeps doing that, it's because he has no core beliefs, he doesn't care one way or the other, it's whatever he gains most from saying. And since his base has no memory, in the end it won't matter.