Very Late Last Night The President Answers That.
We’ve learned never to underestimate the President when it comes to genius for publicity. So we figured he maybe would come up with some whiz-bang alternate format or location, as he’d originally threatened.
But no, as we all thought all along, he wants to give the address at the Capitol pretty bad.
But there’s another thing of interest in Trump’s late night Tweets (unless we’re reading too much into them, or he quickly reverses himself after watching Fox in the early morning, as he sometimes does): a hint of conciliation. That the shutdown will be over “in the near future”, and not last for “months or even years” as he’d suggested in the near past.
We aren’t the only ones to pick up on this. Shortly after we wrote the paragraph above, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tweeted:
Pelosi’s referring to the dueling bills that’ll be voted on in the Senate today, day 34 of the shutdown, which was the subject of our column yesterday.
Trump’s late night internet message follows a day of dueling letters: first from the President to Nancy Pelosi proclaiming he did plan to make the trip over from the White House next Tuesday evening for the speech. Then a letter back from Pelosi saying nope, not unless/until the government’s reopened by then. Of course the President can go wherever he wants: he’s the President, but Pelosi doesn’t have to turn on the lights for him.
Prior to a White House meeting earlier in the day with Right-wing leadership, Trump said Pelosi dis-invited him because “she doesn’t want to hear the truth; doesn’t want the American people to heart the truth”. (Giving an indication his speech would not be the typical State of the Union trashing of the other party that no one takes really seriously, but rather an unprecedented spew of bile.) He then rambled on about how Republicans would’ve held on to the House if he’d personally stumped for more candidates, but were are just “too many of them”. He concluded by calling his lockout by Pelosi a “blotch” on the country. You can watch it all by clicking on the photo below, if you like:
He also complained Melania Trump has been sending out invitations to special guests: you know, the heroes and “regular people” Presidents like to point out in the gallery during the speech and tell of their feats. And boy, won’t they be disappointed. Really? Was he really threatening to use them as pawns too?
As a quick aside, we think it’s interesting Trump hasn’t come up with a nasty nickname for Pelosi yet (there’s an obvious one right there). He came close, saying at one point: “Nancy Pelosi, or Nancy, as I call her…”, but not going all the way with it. And we think it’s telling, although we’re not really sure of what.
Part of Trump’s sudden, momentary retreat might have to do with the fact his approval ratings have dropped to an all-time low. But as lawfareblog’s Benjamin Wittes points out, President Reagan’s were as low at this point in his first term, yet he came roaring back to a landslide reelection just 2 years later. But as we’ve been meaning to point out–and none other than George Conway just did on Twitter–Reagan was dealing with a huge Recession, and a huge economic recovery followed in time for the next Presidential election. Trump, we’re sure, wouldn’t agree with us, but this could be his top.
Meanwhile, Democrats did exactly what we’ve been expecting them to do: vastly increasing their investment in border security as long as it doesn’t include Trump’s wall. In fact, some Democrats now saying they’ll give the President exactly the dollar amount he’s been demanding: $5.7-billion, maybe even more… Just no wall.
C’mon, Mr. President, the Democrats are willing to give you quadruple what they were originally going to give you. Take it. Declare victory. And it will be a bona-fide victory for you. And let your people have their paychecks!
But then again, we’ve all known for a long time this isn’t first and foremost about security, this is about a monument.