by Jeffery Rendall
Friday started off with the blockbuster news that longtime associate and occasional Trump political advisor Roger Stone was ensnared (for process crimes, no less) in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ever-widening “Russian collusion” net, which to the liberal establishment media meant that the long-anticipated “smoking gun” had been located and House Democrats’ impeachment proceedings could commence at their earliest convenience.
Later in the day word leaked out that President Trump would make a statement concerning the government shutdown, which had completed its fifth week with neither side appearing likely to concede anytime soon. At that point no one was talking about Stone anymore.
Trump shocked some conservatives by announcing the government would reopen for three weeks in hopes a bipartisan congressional commission would hammer out a solution to the wall funding standoff in the meantime. The president acknowledged he was going against his vow not to throw open the government’s doors until Democrats produced money for border security – but insisted afterwards it wasn’t a concession.
Caitlin Yilek reported at The Washington Examiner, “President Trump told his supporters that he was not caving to Democrats on his promised border wall after he agreed to end the partial government shutdown for three weeks without the $5.7 billion at issue…
“’This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!’ he wrote.
“The hashtag ‘#TrumpCaved’ trended on Twitter on Friday following the president’s announcement, a day after he proclaimed ‘We will not Cave!’ on the social media site.”
At first glance it certainly looks as though Trump “caved” by reopening the government without any indulgences from Democrat leaders over border barrier funds. In essence the president could’ve taken the same position last month (when money for 25% of the government ran out) and avoided the entirety of 35 days’ worth of non-stop media bashing and Democrat preaching about who’s to “blame” for the dreaded government shutdown.
Meanwhile, Americans outside the beltway went on with their business and hardly anyone not associated with the establishment media noticed anything was different in their daily lives. True, airport travelers encountered delays at certain airports because highly dedicated members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) called in sick at twice the normal rate, but a little inconvenience doesn’t always equate to dissatisfaction where principle is concerned.
As a side note, one local news report on TSA absences indicated employees could not come into work because they couldn’t afford to get there…? Seriously? Does no one have credit cards anymore? How can anyone empathize with furloughed (but certain to receive backpay) government employees when they make such lame excuses for not doing their duties?
At any rate, the government is open and people are breathing a collective sigh of relief, not because life will go on as normal again – at least for three weeks – but now we won’t have to hear media lectures about the shutdown anymore. Trump highlighted the devoted service of the government operatives in limbo and thanked them for standing by in difficult times.
But did Trump really cave here? Here’s thinking it’s all a carefully concocted plan to sway public opinion.
Several factors come to mind. First, Trump never “caves.” Ever. The man would rather stand on his head until he’s blue in the face with the blood rushing out of his toes before he’d ever admit that he lost – or that he’s sorry – about anything. Armies sometimes pull back from forward positions in what appears to be a retreat, only to set up behind stronger defensive barriers in the rear of the field. It’s called redeployment.
That looks to be what’s happening here. Trump holds one ace in the hole – the possibility of declaring a national emergency on the border – but he wasn’t quite ready to play it while there were other alternative moves still to consider. Reopening the government didn’t cost him anything (other than potential embarrassment over the impression “Chucky” & Nancy got the best of him). Trump doesn’t care about appearances, he’s a chess player saving his queen for the final kill sequence.
Meanwhile, obtuse Democrats are three moves behind.
Second, Trump figures he could justify “caving” to Democrats’ demands because the continuing resolution for Homeland Security is only three weeks in length. This clearly puts the onus back on Congress to construct a “compromise” that’s palatable to the president or we could be where we started a month ago. Or, Trump could go forward on his own and instruct the military to throw up the barrier without asking Congress. The money is there… use it.
Yes, the courts will almost certainly have something to say about such an action, but Trump will look like the good guy to those millions who care about border security and pay attention.
Interviews with senators after the government reopened revealed a collection of scared lawmakers uneasy about the proposition of shaping a deal in such a short time. Republicans seemed especially intimidated at the necessity of staring down the upper chamber’s minority. This is nonsense – the matter’s been debated for decades and the problem is still there. Three weeks represents plenty of chances to do what the political class has been promising for years: enact security first and leave the harder issues for later.
Lastly, if Congress fails to reach an acceptable compromise – which seems almost certain now – Trump will be fully justified in using executive authority to declare an emergency. The president can argue he did what the Democrats wanted – reopen the government – yet the dysfunctional partisan situation in the legislative branch wouldn’t allow for a workable solution.
So, like Trump has done all his life in every capacity, he’ll act now and ask questions later. Doers get things accomplished, politicians just whine, gripe, complain and blame. At the very least the border barrier will be in place (or most of it) by Election Day 2020. Trump will have kept his promise to the people and the voters will decide who’s right.
For now, Democrats behaved like they’d whacked a disobedient child and weren’t in the mood to be conciliatory. Susan Ferrechio reported at The Washington Examiner, “Democratic leaders took a victory lap Friday after President Trump agreed to end a partial government shutdown without a guarantee that he will ever receive the border wall funding he has demanded since his 2016 campaign.
“’Democrats in the Senate and the House were united behind this position throughout the shutdown and ultimately this agreement endorses our position,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said after Trump’s announcement. ‘Hopefully the president has learned his lesson.’…
“’Democrats are firmly against the wall,’ Schumer said Friday, adding that Trump was proven wrong that Democrats would ‘crack’ and vote for the wall.”
If there’s a truer example of a pontificating arrogant elitist gasbag in the world than creepy “Chucky” Schumer I’d like to see it. The man just poked his fingers in the eyes of the tens of millions of citizens who see sealing the border as the be-all end-all of the American experiment.
Nancy Pelosi would approach Schumer’s level of haughtiness but at least she conceded she didn’t know if wall funding would be included in a future deal. No qualms for Chucky – he’s got his filibuster rule to hide behind. What an idiot.
Democrats’ intractable position on border wall funding will invariably force President Trump’s hand – and that’s something Trump relishes. Democrats could be reasonable and accept the president’s compromise offer…or more likely end up with a wall on the border and nothing for their side.