How Trump got from Point A to Point A on immigration

From The Washington Post:

At meetings Thursday on the 14th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan, the candidate’s top aides held the opposite view. They thought his tough talk on immigration — combined with a whirlwind trip to Mexico on Wednesday — had, in the words of one adviser, “won him the election.”

“How do you like our poll numbers?” Trump excitedly asked in a brief telephone interview with The Washington Post on Thursday. He rattled off recent surveys that he said show his support has inched up.

For nearly two weeks, Trump has publicly and privately debated how best to describe his immigration positions, especially when it comes to the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

He spent days floating a series of possible changes and gauging the reaction, and even visited Mexico for a few hours Wednesday in a bid to appear more presidential. But later that night, he decided to stick with the far-right positions that were key to his success in the Republican primaries and could help him cement the support of white men — one demographic where he beats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The roller-coaster debate — which continued Thursday after a speech the campaign heralded as definitive — centered on Trump’s repeated calls during the primaries to deport all of the undocumented immigrants in the country. He suggested that his declaration applied even if they have lived here for decades, are contributing members of society or have children who are U.S. citizens, although he appeared to back away from his call to immediately deport all of the illegal immigrants living in the United States with a “deportation force.”

But in the end, the debate within the Trump campaign turned out to be about messaging rather than policy.

“He hasn’t changed his position on immigration,” Trump surrogate Katrina Pierson said …

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