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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Trump Prepares to Declare a Fake National Emergency

After watching Donald Trump’s lame-o Oval Office Address and observed the trajectory of events, I commented at New York on what’s likely next.

No one had any reason to expect significant progress in border wall/government shutdown negotiations in the wake of last night’s Oval Office address from the president warning the country of evil immigrants pouring over the border to murder innocent people and pillage the land. But things deteriorated really quickly, as the Washington Post reported:

“Talks between President Trump and congressional Democrats aimed at ending a partial government shutdown collapsed in acrimony and disarray Wednesday, with the president walking out of a White House meeting and calling it “a total waste of time” after Democrats rejected his demand for border wall funding.”

The surrounding dynamics were pretty bad. Pelosi mocked Trump for failing to show any sympathy for the federal workers and contractors being hurt by the shutdown: “He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money. But they can’t.”

And Trump had this to say on Twitter:

“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”

Aside from that data point, and the steadily increasing human suffering it involves, Senate Democrats are filibustering everything that Mitch McConnell brings to the floor until such time as a House-passed bill to reopen the government, pending additional border-wall negotiations, receives a vote. So one way of viewing today’s drama is that Trump is going through the motions of a conventional food fight with Democrats before reaching for his not-so-secret weapon:

Short of compromising, which he seems less and less inclined to do, the emergency declaration option, for all its legal and political uncertainties, may be the only way Trump can back his way out of the government shutdown he triggered after losing his temper at a December 11 meeting with “Chuck and Nancy,” and then getting trashed by conservative mediawhen he tried to creep away from his belligerent position. It would let him declare victory after unilaterally ordering the redirection of Pentagon money for border wall construction, then magnanimously let the government reopen. That’s assuming the courts let him get that far before hauling his administration into the dock, and fellow Republicans don’t freak out at the potential abuses of power the declaration could make possible.

Whether it’s a good idea or not, Trump seems to be working quickly to dynamite any other paths out of the morass. There’s quite an irony, though: Having signally failed in his big speech to convince anyone other than his “base” that there’s any sort of real emergency on the southern border, the president will now simply declare one.


One comment on “Trump Prepares to Declare a Fake National Emergency

  1. Candace on

    Someone should remind Trump of this
    “The NBC/WSJ poll also asked respondents to evaluate Trump’s handling of 11 different issues and actions.
    The most popular: 71 percent say they approve of his agreement with Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on legislation to fund hurricane relief and keep the government open for three months.”

    The GOP was furious with him for working with the Democrats and I believe they were outraged because his approval ratings were up. They really don’t want him to be successful just like with Obama or probably any future president.

    Trump wants to be popular and instead he’s being advised off a cliff threatening to take everyone with him.
    If he had to appeal to his base he could’ve done it without pursuing issues that would make it impossible to be accepted by everyone or the majority. Focusing on the wall, borders and race is building a reliable wedge between himself and the majority in this country especially Democrats and his advisers know it.
    I think McConnell wants Trump to own this shut down because he ticked him off but also to force the Democrats into starting impeachment proceedings against him. Republicans want to martyr Trump for their cause and keep their hands clean so they can continue to use him against the Democratic party and voters in 2020.
    whatever their motivation Trump and Republicans working together with the Democratic party is good for the country so it would be good for Trump’s approval ratings. If people like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham wanted the best for this country and the president to succeed that’s exactly what they would be encouraging Trump to do.
    All Trump needs to do is talk about how he couldn’t stand the thought of how the 800,000 employees would suffer and open the government. He could say he was too passionate, stage some hang out with Nancy and Chuck. Have coffee together. Talk about how much the internet sucks. Claim he didn’t know all of the advanced options for security and that he actually will be getting more money for his hi-tech wall once he, Nancy and Chuck work out the details. 🙂
    And if all is not lost, which it probably is, he could try repairing his reputation by doing the opposite of every instinct he has. If the job proves to be too much, he should plan to resign. Hope for a pardon and perhaps go to Vegas. Have an I_used to be thePotus show or some-such with special guests: Kid Rock and Kanye West. There could be a future for him in WWE or Nascar, maybe a Shatneresque album or duet with Sarah Palin.
    But in the meantime he should just sign whatever he needs to sign and open the government.


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