They were two peas in a pod.
Kris Kobach and Donald Trump have been cozy as they could be, especially concerning illegal immigrants.
But now the Republican secretary of state in Kansas is portraying himself as splitting from the GOP nominee for president, although it is hard to tell definitively because Trump changes his position on illegal immigration on a daily basis.
Apparently, Trump is trying to move away from the most extreme views, which he previously shared with Kobach. Trump has found, through polling, that the general population has a different attitude toward illegal immigrants — particularly Latino immigrants — than hardcore, angry Republican primary voters, who represent the base support for both Trump and Kobach.
According to recent polls, the majority of Americans do not think illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes. Furthermore, polls show most Americans think that illegal immigrants are employed in jobs that Americans are not likely to do.
There is also a widespread perception that illegal immigrants are hard-working people.
This must be hard for Kobach to swallow. Kobach has made it his life’s mission to punish illegal immigrants in any way possible.
Through laws he has promoted nationwide, including the infamous “show us your papers” law in Arizona, he wants to harass illegal immigrants until they self-deport.
Trump, who has consistently called for the mass deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, has changed his tune. Now, he wants to be “fair” to those illegal immigrants who obey the law.
At least, that’s what he said recently. He ran into a buzz-saw of angry supporters who pushed back hard. Trump back-peddled the next day, and he just made a major pronouncement with yet other positions.
I wonder whether or not Kobach is sorry he was one of the first elected officials in the country to endorse Trump. Kobach must feel betrayed by Trump, who obviously is not as committed to the extreme anti-immigrant views as Kobach, who would never flip-flop on this issue.
That brings us to the wall. Pew Research finds that six in 10 Americans are opposed to building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
That wall is a huge part of the Republican Party platform. Trump handpicked Kobach to write portions of the platform, including language about the wall.
Kobach inserted this tough language: The U.S. would “build a border wall that would cover the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
The Republican platform does not address the admonition by Trump that Mexico pay for the wall. But it was Kobach’s idea to whisper in Trump’s ear that the way to force Mexico to pay would be to threaten to cut off the billions of dollars immigrants send home to their families in Mexico.
Trump may yet soften his position on the wall because it is so unpopular with a majority of Americans.
Despite Trump’s flip-flops, I believe, in their heart of hearts, he and Kobach remain two peas in a pod. At their core, they are both bigots.
And if Trump becomes president of the United States, Kobach would likely be rewarded with a lofty appointment in a Trump administration.
That would be awful for America but great to be rid of Kobach from Kansas.
Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist: email@example.com.