As U.S. federal workers set their alarms last night for the first time in over five weeks since the government shutdown, Trump already dampened their spirits. They may be going back to work today, but once the three-week government funding lapse passes, all bets are currently off.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, president Trump said that he honestly didn’t believe the delicate issue of immigration and funding for his wall could be decided upon in three weeks:
“I personally think it’s less than 50-50."
Trump’s pessimistic comments will do little to sooth the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown. Many are already struggling to make ends meet as the Republicans and Democrats continue to lock horns over immigration.
Notably, he refused to rule out the scenario again, stating:
Another government shutdown is] certainly an option.
Trump’s Shutdown Is a Dangerous Game
So far, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history has achieved very little other than causing industries across the board to shudder to a halt and federal workers to miss mortgage payments.
Why was the gov’t shutdown for 35 days?
Over funding for a border wall.
Did they add funding for such a wall?
POTUS changed his position on the wall?
Did the shutdown deal differ from the pre-shutdown bill?
Why was the gov’t shutdown for 35 days?
— Shawn M. Griffiths (@TheShawnG) January 25, 2019
As CCN reported, the shutdown appears to be orchestrated or even fake, with the “temporary” reopening a way of curtailing the damage to the economy without losing face.
However, if the shutdown is one of the biggest games in political history, it’s a dangerous one to be sure.
While Nancy and Donald appear to enjoy playing their parts in the show, real people are failing to put food on the table.
And there doesn’t appear to be anything purposeful about the temporary reopening.
After all, how is a task force comprised of 17 Republican and Democrat lawmakers going to whip up an acceptable deal on something that’s been a thorn in the side of the United States for decades? And long before Trump ascended to power?
Trump Is Losing His Leverage
Moreover, Trump’s position isn’t as powerful as it was when he came into office. He lost the House majority in the November elections and is on the receiving end of criticism from within his ranks.
Some Republicans are displeased with the concession to temporarily reopen while negotiations continue. Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter even labeled him a "wimp" for reopening--to which Trump responded with a typical schoolboy joke.
"I hear she's become very hostile, maybe I didn’t return her phone call or something."
— The Hill (@thehill) January 28, 2019
I suppose we can be grateful that he didn’t make a reference to hormones or PMS.
Immigration Is an Ongoing Issue
Trump picking up the torch on immigration has garnered so much public attention due to his strong rhetoric. In fact, President Obama deported more immigrants than any other U.S. president. Clinton also had his fair share of kicking undesirables out.
The issue of immigration isn’t only one the Republicans take seriously.
It seems that the real problem here is the choice of language and extremely public approach to it all. After all, silently signing deportation papers in a back office is not the same as coming to power on the back of fiery rhetoric about building a wall.
Many Americans tired of factories closing down applauded Trump for his "make America great again" campaign. If that included a wall to keep the immigrants from stealing their jobs, so much the better.
And it had to be a wall.
In December, before the government shutdown started, Trump stated that he would not sign anything that didn’t include at least $5.7 billion for a wall. He later tweeted on January 3 that there can be no security without the wall.
Sadly, there can be no REAL Border Security without the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2019
However, this speech is beginning to dismantle brick by brick.
Democrats residing underneath under the banner of freedom won’t concede to funding anything as distasteful as a wall. But they will dig into the government coffers for a levy, bollard barriers, or replacement fencing.
On Sunday, when asked again about the type of physical barrier Trump would accept, he said he would "have to see what it is". But that it could be any strong form of physical barrier:
as long as it can stop criminals, gangs, human trafficking, and drugs.
A Wall--Or Barrier--By Any Means
Trump remained skeptical about any deal during the temporary ceasefire that addresses the wider topic of immigration. He remarked that another government shutdown was “certainly an option.”
While his level of optimism over the temporary shutdown hovers around zero, the president could care less. Trump is apparently going to build a wall anyway, using "emergency funds" if needed.
Yesterday the 45th president of the United States reinforced that a wall was the only way to tackle crime.
BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! pic.twitter.com/yDdCG5DCxn
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
If Trump declares a national state of emergency at the border he can use military construction funds to build the wall. However, this is a dangerous precedent that not even the Republicans want to see happen.
After all, what's to stop him--or any future president--from using the "state of emergency" Trump card to finance controversial projects at their whim?
Donald Trump photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP.