It appears to be the policy map for the Trump White House, or at least for chief strategist Steve Bannon. And now we can see it thanks to Twitter. Bannon’s fabled white board, filled with a list of policy goals, appeared to show up in the background of a photo posted Tuesday evening by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Boteach is posing with Bannon in front of the white board in the picture, which was presumably taken in Bannon’s West Wing office. (We wrote to the White House to confirm that the whiteboard in the photo is the one long rumored to be on display in Bannon’s office, but have not received a response yet.)
While most of the items on the board were oft-repeated campaign promises, what we can make out of the list from the picture tell us a few things. (And comment below with what else you observe.)
- Immigration is the most detailed and pointed of President Donald Trump’s priorities. The white board contains some 40 pledges in all. Of these, nearly half (19) are under the heading of “immigration.” This includes a few lesser-known items, like the “passage of the Davis-Oliver” bill. That legislation would give local and state authorities much wider powers to enforce national immigration laws independently. Another item, “Expand and centralize the popular 287(g) partner(ship),” would deputize local police and sheriffs so they could also work as official federal immigration officers.
- Mr. Trump’s words do not sync with one pledge on the board. It’s this item: “terminate President Obama’s two illegal (EO’s).” That’s a reference to the Obama administration’s DAPA order, which is indefinitely frozen but would allow undocumented parents of U.S. citizens to remain in the country; and DACA, which is in effect and gives temporary status to those brought illegally to the country as children. While the pledge insists that both be terminated, Trump has repeatedly said DACA participants, sometimes called Dreamers, shouldn’t worry.
- The check marks show a lot. From what we can see, the White House has checked off a number of big pledges. But a number of them, including “Hire 5000 more Border Patrol agents” and “Triple the number of ICE agents.” are merely in progress, not completed. And at least one — “Suspend the Syrian Refugee Program” — is frozen in court.” It is of course possible that the White House meant to check off only what is underway. But that is telling in of itself. It implies a sense of how this administration views accomplishment. It also may indicate why the White House and its critics are so at odds over exactly how much this president has achieved in his first 100 days.