Navarro spoke to hundreds of dairy farmers and other industry professionals during the annual Dairy Strong conference Jan. 18 at Monona Terrace. Immigration is a key issue for dairy farmers since immigrants make up a large portion of their workforce.
“The Republican Party is like a big, dysfunctional family around the holiday table. We are a house divided,” Navarro said. “And if you think the wheels are moving slow now, just wait. The closer you get to an election, the less gets done.”
Navarro said dairy farmers understand the immigration issue and urged them to keep pushing their representatives in Washington to act.
“We can’t keep kicking the can down the road,” she said. “Are we prepared to see workers pulled from our farms and what the ramifications of that would be? Make sure (lawmakers) hear your voice.”
Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress so they should be able to get a lot accomplished, but Navarro said the party has a multiple personality disorder.
“The GOP leadership says one thing, the donors say another and (President) Trump changes his mind depending on who talked to him last,” she said. “There’s a lot of blame going on now in Washington. Trump blames everyone, the House blames the Senate and the Senate blames Trump, who blames everyone else. He then goes on to attack someone on Twitter to distract everyone.”
Navarro, who was a consultant to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during his failed 2016 presidential bid, said Republicans who thought Trump would change when he got into the White House were wrong. “He has not changed, but the GOP has in their reaction to him,” she said. “Trump loves his base and his base loves him, but that will not be enough for 2020.”
Navarro, who came to the United States as a child legally with her parents from Nicaragua, said action is needed now on immigration reform, especially on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. These are people who were children when their parents illegally immigrated to the United States.
“I was fortunate since my family was able to come here legally, but if it wasn’t possible for us to leave legally, I am sure we would have come here illegally to get away from the communists,” she said. “I had no control over what my parents were doing and you can’t blame the Dreamers for what their parents did.”
As for Trump’s vow to build a wall along the country’s southern border to keep illegal immigrants out, Navarro called the idea foolish and said it was holding up immigration reform.
“Does he realize to build the wall, that land would need to be seized from 900 ranchers? Can you imagine where that would lead? I don’t know about Wisconsin farmers, but ranchers in Texas carry guns and wear big hats,” she said. “If he insists on a wall, let’s give him one made of Legos.”
As for the mid-year elections next November, Navarro said, “A lot of us feel there is a giant tsunami coming. We think Republicans will lose the House. One possibility from that is Trump may actually work with the Democrats to get things done. That might be better than this civil war we have going on now.”