After President Donald Trump’s humiliating defeat at the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats on Friday in the government shutdown fight over Trump’s border wall demands, the Wall Street Journal mocked him and criticized his supporters.
For 35 days, Trump demanded $5.7 billion for an ineffective border wall after his supporters pushed him into rejecting a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in December to fund the government without wall money.
As it turns out, it was a mistake to listen to them because now he looks weak, or as Ann Coulter put it, like a “wimp.”
Pelosi and the Democrats insisted that government shutdowns should not be used as a negotiation tactic and that if Trump wants serious negotiation about his wall, he’ll have to keep the government open.
“President Trump cut his growing political losses on Friday by agreeing to reopen the government for three weeks pending new border-spending negotiations,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerges as the winner in this showdown, at least in the short term.”
Not even a day went by before Trump threatened to shut the government down again if he doesn’t get his wall, thus undercutting negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress that could have at least netted him some funding. The question is what amount is acceptable to Trump? Certainly not $5.7 billion. After all, the American people rejected that and Trump lost the shutdown fight over that very amount. If anything, Trump may get additional funds to place fencing in certain areas and increased funding for repairs to current fencing. But a wall will not happen and shutting the government down over it again will only hurt him and the GOP, especially since Trump has already made it clear that he’ll be the one to shut it down again.
“Most voters blamed him for the shutdown, and the costs to the public had begun to build,” the Wall Street Journal pointed out. “Maybe someone told Mr. Trump that Presidents get the blame when the economy suffers.”
WSJ couldn’t help but compare Trump to a tantrum-throwing toddler while Pelosi played the role of the adult in the room.
“Mr. Trump’s strategy, to the extent he had one, was to hold his breath until Mrs. Pelosi gave in,” the editorial said. “She merely had to do nothing to win.”
She didn’t exactly do nothing. Pelosi stood up to Trump against his bullying and made it clear that Congress will be a check on his power. The days where he could do whatever he wanted without challenge or oversight are a thing of the past.
But Trump supporters were also targeted by the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
“The same immigration restrictionists who told Mr. Trump to shut down the government are now calling him a wimp for not watching his approval rating sink even lower,” WSJ wrote. “They care more about their own TV ratings and book sales than they do Mr. Trump.”
That’s clearly a shot at Ann Coulter, who has made a lot of money selling gullible racists on the idea of a wall to symbolize white supremacy over the brown horde that is supposedly invading us.
The point the Wall Street Journal appears to be trying to make is that Trump would be making a grave political error by sacrificing re-election in 2020 just to get a few measly billion dollars to construct a small fraction of his wall. Trump supporters apparently forgot that re-election is not automatic. And Trump already faces an uphill battle if the recent midterm election landslide won by Democrats in 2018 is an indication. Democrats also have many popular names running for the presidency that will give more than a challenge. As his base of voters becomes more and more isolated and smaller, the best course of action would be to live to fight another day instead of sacrificing so many votes before the election has even begun.
But it’s already too late for that as a majority of registered voters say they definitely won’t vote for Trump again and most Americans oppose the wall.
But perhaps the top reason why Trump refused to budge is because of top aide Stephen Miller, who has been his chief anti-immigration staffer in the White House, and the one who pushed Trump to reject deals on the table, including a deal over the summer that would have given Trump $25 billion for his wall. But because the deal meant giving Democrats permanent protection for DACA recipients and refugees, he killed it.
“He needs to turn the negotiations over to someone who really does want to make an immigration deal,” the Wall Street Journal suggested. “Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is the voice to listen to here.”
Probably not. Graham has been just as demanding as Trump for $5.7 billion and his vicious attacks on Democrats in recent months have made him the worst lawmaker to lead the negotiations for Trump. In fact, if Graham had his way, Trump would just seize power through a declaration of a national emergency. What Trump really needs is a moderate who can strike a true bipartisan agreement without name-calling and grandstanding.
Graham used to be that guy — but isn’t any longer.
Perhaps a senator like Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) or Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) would be better suited to the task.
But the bottom line is that Trump made it impossible for Democrats to work with him and he’s continuing to do that by threatening to shut the government down again if he doesn’t get his way, and it’s all because he is too beholden to his base instead of appealing to most Americans. Democrats have already offered Trump more than enough money for border security. We don’t need a wall that experts agree will not work. He should accept that and take the win instead of treating compromise as a loss.
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