The roller coaster ride of 2018 politics, better known as “what’s President Trump going to do next,” is approaching its tallest, steepest peak. After a few days of concern that the President would punt with the rest of the GOP on the border wall, it seems that at the last moment, President Trump is going to be President Trump.
As I said on Twitter, this is the “f*** it” stage of his first term.
It seems we're now entered the "f*** it" stage of the presidency.
Normally I'd object, but if this is the attitude it'll take to get border wall funding, so be it.
Brace yourselves, folks. It's going to be a bumpy couple of years going forward.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) December 20, 2018
This week has seen several versions of the same story that assumed the President was going to have to go with the rest of the Republican Party in DC by extending government funding until February. But that seems to have changed hours before the government has a partial shutdown. According to outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the President isn’t budging on what he said last week.
No wall funding, no government funding.
But Trump, who seeks $5 billion to build his proposed border wall, will refuse to sign the measure without his desired border security measures, House Speaker Paul Ryan said after a meeting with the president on Thursday. Trump’s decision throws more chaos into the late scramble to keep the government running through Christmas and into the new year.
Trump’s desire for border wall funding leaves the path forward for Congress unclear. As House Republicans tried to head off conservative members’ rebellion against the spending bill earlier Thursday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer flatly said Democrats would not approve money for the barrier.
I’m not sure if this is the President acting on his whims, as he is often wont to do, or if the plan all along was to make people believe he was punting, only to make his case at the last moment.
I often criticize the President’s strategies, but if the latter is the case, I’ll admit that it was very clever. Get the Democrats celebrating their victory, literally. Get the press talking about the President’s failure to get wall funding. Then, pop this on them at the last moment, saying he’s been consistent about it the whole time.
Which, technically, he has been. Assumptions were made when Press Secretary Sarah Sanders suggested other funding methods would be looked at to get the wall built, and that the White House didn’t want a shutdown. Even the President himself seemed to Tweet this morning that the wall wasn’t all there was to border security, a signal some read as him backtracking on the wall.
Frankly, I don’t care whether this was a brilliant plan or a whim. At this point, whatever it takes for the President to get wall funding is acceptable to some degree.
As long as he sticks to his guns and forces border wall funding into the budget now, it doesn’t really matter what political games he has to play to do it. We need the wall. The people want the wall. Capitol Hill needs to do their jobs.