“It would have been nice if they did this a month from now or two months ago so it’s not right before an election,” Mr. Krikorian said. “Two months ago, they could have prepared talking points and sent them out, and then staffers to congressmen could read them and decide what they’re supposed to say. A month from now, it would not happen right before an election.” He added, “It doesn’t strike me as the best way to run a railroad.”
Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and a former White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, said Mr. Trump seemed to be making stuff up as he went without any kind of vetting.
“The executive order is flatly unconstitutional. It’s pretend,” he said. “The tax cut is pretend. Sending troops to the border is expensive theater. Trump is throwing out these ever wilder ideas in the hope to dominate the news. Perhaps there will be method to the madness if he can shape the debate the week before the election. Just as likely, though, the escalating craziness will remind voters of what they don’t like about the president.”
The birthright issue was particularly uncomfortable for Republicans in places like Florida. Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for the United States Senate, walked away when a reporter asked if he supported Mr. Trump’s proposal. An aide later told The Miami Herald that the governor did not hear the question, but an issued statement did not answer the question, either.
Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, another Florida Republican, said that he would “strongly disagree with the proposed executive order,” and Representative Carlos Curbelo, also a Republican from the state, wrote on Twitter that “birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no @realdonaldtrump you can’t end it by executive order.”
Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said that in pushing immigration in the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Trump was looking for short-term political gain that could cost Republicans in the long run.
“It helps him politically, and he’s looking particularly at Senate races where it could help energize a part of his base that’s mostly anti-immigrant and restrictionist,” Mr. Aguilar said. But, he added, “this continues to fuel the problem the G.O.P. has with Hispanic voters.”