President’s Statements And Tweets Of Late Sound More Like Someone Trying To Scuttle A Deal Than Make One
For instance, this early morning doozy:
As we noted earlier in the week, Democrats were at least hinting they might be open to some wall money in order to get a deal done. But why would they do so after that?
Trump also appeared at an event with manufacturing companies in the Oval Office, and rather than merely reinforce his firm stance on the wall, seemed intent on obliterating the efforts of bipartisan negotiators who are trying to hammer out something that’ll pass. Saying “I do not think they will make a deal” and his new favorite line: “politicians are wasting a lot of time.” (He also hinted that he might delay a scheduled acceleration of tariffs against China, as they work to cut a deal). Here’s a clip (click on the photo to watch):
We think he doesn’t want anything to pass. Because even after all of this, if a compromise bill does contain some wall funding, or at least some money that could possibly go to a wall, it won’t be nearly as much as the President wants. We won’t speculate as to what a deal might look like, except to say Democrats seem a lot more open to pouring a lot more money into border security than they originally did. At the same time, they had allotted more than a billion dollars in money for a wall back in December, which wasn’t enough for Trump then; still probably isn’t. And since he didn’t take it the first time, they’re intent now on revising that number down to zero.
That’s why the success of the bipartisan conference committee in coming up with something that’ll pass is crucially important. And it’s no easy task: it’ll require at least some Republican Senators as well as some left wing Representatives (who might be against funding more border personnel, drones, etc.), standing together to tell this crazy President enough is enough. Preferably with a veto-proof majority.
Impossible? The Senate just sort of did it with an amendment to a Mideast-centric bill that might be called “Mitch McConnell’s revenge for Trump screwing him over on the budget”. By a vote of 68 to 23, the Senate approved the Majority Leader’s amendment that’s critical of Trump’s vow to suddenly pull U.S. troops out of Syria, leaving military allies in peril. That’s more than 2/3rds of the Senate.
So we think Trump sees any deal coming from Congress as a threat, not a solution. If Congress puts something on the President’s desk, refusing to sign and going his own way becomes a singularly reckless move. Which he still might do.
But the only way Trump comes out of that a “winner” is if the conference committee composed of 9 Democrats and 8 Republicans fails to come up with anything. And forget about complaints from right-wing media that the group isn’t moving fast enough: they’ve got 2 more weeks. That was the deal. Ideally, if they can get something to the Senate and House by the end of next week, there will be plenty of time to pass it before the government is scheduled to shut down again.
Senator Richard Shelby, who’s leading the Republican side of the committee, is simply asking for some space at this point, saying if Trump, Pelosi, et. al.:
“Would let us, the appropriators, do our job, we could do this.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who’d taken a polite step back after Trump appeared conciliatory when he reopened the government with a funding bill almost identical to one he’d refused to sign just a few weeks before, made a powerful jump right back into the fray. Most news reports focused on her saying directly “there’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.” We think a different quote from Pelosi is much more telling:
“I knew that he [Trump] wanted it all to himself”.
Click on the photo to watch:
So what does Trump think he’s got going for him that accounts for his newly rekindled intransigence over the wall?
By agreeing to reopen the government, Trump did buy himself one more chance to pitch it to the public in the State of the Union address next Tuesday. One might expect him to be more fired up than his leaden Oval Office speech, which only made his popularity ratings worse.
Meanwhile, at the border, the biggest fentanyl bust ever. Customs agents (not Border Patrol as Trump mistakenly credits in a Tweet), finding it hidden in a fruit truck. At an official port of entry. Not the result of some smuggler “making a left turn”, as Trump likes to say. They were planning on driving it straight in. Nailed by a drug sniffing dog. Dogs are great.