If He Thinks He Can “Sell” It To The Public As The Fault Of “Obstructionist Democrats” And Certain “Weak Republicans”, Why Not?
So many reports today about how Trump is single-handedly making Congress’ already monstrously difficult September agenda even harder to achieve. And as we pointed out yesterday, that does seem to fit the President’s M.O.: he often adds degrees of difficulty to things that are tough-going enough already, and plays his strategic hands too quickly (“Muslim ban”) or too slowly (Obamacare “Repeal and Replace”).
But while Congress seems to really want to get a spending and debt ceiling deal out of the way so they can deliver, or at least make progress on tax cuts, the President’s stated position as of today is he’ll shut down the government, and punish everybody, unless and until they give him his “wall.”
Most pundits and many politicians are writing it off as political posturing for a President who is daily losing leverage and thus is squeezing out every little bit he’s got. Anything that might continue to resonate with the still very excitable people who elected him. Anything that might take attention away from the Russia “cloud”. Anything that might take momentum away from bi-partisan efforts to stabilize health care. Anything that might distract from the fact that continually bashing lawmakers in your own party, makes it far less likely they’ll do you any favors.
But what if the explanation is actually the simplest one possible: he really is obsessed with “the wall”?
What if this is where he chooses to plant his flag vs. “Obstructionist Democrats” and “The Swamp”?
After all, there’s nothing more iconic than “Trump’s wall”.
Will he forever be remembered for cutting a deal to raise the debt ceiling? No way. Will he forever be remembered for huge tax cuts for the rich? Probably not. Will he forever be remembered for eviscerating education, environment and social programs in favor of the military industrial complex? Been done. Will he forever be remembered for whatever happens with North Korea? Maybe (if there’s anything left to remember). But will he forever be remembered for “the wall”? YES.
We so easily forget: Trump’s a builder. All he’s done all his life is build monuments to himself, then put his name on them. HUGE. He’s even put his name–HUGE–on things he didn’t build. His biggest boast at his shameless, repugnant rally in Arizona was that he has a “bigger, more beautiful apartment” than anyone else. In that context, “the wall” makes perfect sense.
But, you protest, would he risk losing one of the biggest boons of his young Presidency: the surging stock market that–as he continually reminds us–is at near-record highs? Yes, if he can place any and all blame squarely on his “enemies” and claim he had nothing to do with it. Also remember in May, Trump telegraphed the maneuver, Tweeting “Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September”.
So while to “normal” people this may seem like a trivial thing over which to make his “last stand” (at least for his first year in office), Trump’s habits seem to indicate a compatibility, a synchronicity even, with the arrogant, self-aggrandizing, and imprudent General Custer, who famously stated: “I would be willing, yes glad, to see a battle every day during my life.” (See: Trump, Twitter feed).
Trump Might Let “Dreamers” Stay, But At A Big Cost
According to McClatchy, the White House is working up a plan that would allow illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to stay. In exchange, they want:
• Funding for “the wall” (of course)
• More detention facilities for illegal aliens
• A budget to implement software called E-Verify that allows prospective employers to check applicants immigration status
• Curbs on legal immigration.
Trump has been stalling on what to do about Obama’s Dreamer’s Initiative, also called DACA, since taking office. Now, 10 State Attorneys General, led by Texas’, are threatening to force his hand. They’re ripe to sue to kill the initiative.
Judge Kills Texas’ Latest Voter ID Law
A federal judge in Texas ruled a revised voter ID law still shows “deliberate intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters.”
Among other things, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos’ ruling pointed to the fact that the state will not accept as valid ID the state government photo IDs it issues to its own employees.
It’s likely Texas will appeal.
Trump’s Official (Non-Tweeted) Policy On Transgender Troops Forthcoming
The Wall Street Journal (which we don’t link to because it’s behind a paywall), reports the White House is very close to finalizing new regulations, originally announced last month by President Trump in a series of 3 Tweets. Here’s a summary from CNN instead. And they’re about as ugly as you would expect. According to the Journal, the crux of the new rules are as follows:
• No new transgender troops will be admitted into the military.
• The military will immediately stop paying for transgender “medical treatment regimens”.
• All transgender troops currently serving will be reevaluated for readiness to deploy, and possibly discharged.
The White House will give Defense Secretary Mattis 6 months to enforce the new rules.
China Angered By New Layer Of North Korea Sanctions
China’s reacting angrily to surprise sanctions the U.S. just put on some of its companies, related to North Korea. They range from an African-based company that hires North Korean workers to build statues, to financial firms that have facilitated foreign currency transactions.
The “secondary sanctions” seem expressly targeted at keeping hard currency out of North Korea, which might have an immediate impact on the ruling elite.
This is actually pretty bold stuff: pressuring China and Russia to go along with you on U.N. sanctions, then when they do, almost immediately turning around and saying “that’s nice and all, but we still don’t exactly trust you.” In this move, we think Trump is right. China and Russia are notorious for doing end-arounds.
Trump’s Apparently Not That Mad At Amazon (At Least Not Enough To Abuse His Power)
The Federal Trade Commission just cleared the way for his nemesis, Jeff Bezos, to buy Whole Foods. The deal is worth nearly $14-billion. Just last night Trump lambasted The Washington Post, which Bezos (not Amazon) owns, as no more than “a lobbying tool” for Amazon.
Quick Follow-Up To Another Story We Reported On About A Week Ago
The Justice Department has dropped its order for the online service provider, Dreamhost, to turn over online visitor info to a resistance website. That demand was part of a search warrant seeking information about visitors to the Disrupt website. Justice says it didn’t realize the extent of the data gathered by Dreamhost and “has no interest in records relating to the 1.3 million IP addresses.”
Trump And McConnell’s One-Day Detente…We’re Betting It Doesn’t Last Thru Labor Day
The President and Senate Majority Leader issued separate statements saying they’re working together. That’s after the New York Times reported that they haven’t spoken for weeks, following a profane screaming match. The White House saying Trump and McConnell “remain united on many shared priorities…” McConnell’s right-back-at-ya: “we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation.” Leaving the only possible thing standing in the way of a beautiful friendship: Trump’s Twitter finger.