Trump's base is pushing him to the edge of a government shutdown over the border wall

While Trump has signaled a willingness to compromise on the border wall, many right-wing Republicans are not

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 20, 2018 2:36PM (EST)

 (Reuters/Rick Wilking/Getty/David McNew/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Rick Wilking/Getty/David McNew/Photo montage by Salon)

President Donald Trump has been successfully pushed away from a potential compromise on a bill to avoid a government shutdown by the most right-wing members of the House of Representatives who are demanding money for a border wall.

On Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously voted to clear a stopgap bill that would postpone addressing funding a border wall until at least February in order to avoid a government shutdown, according to Politico. Trump has indicated that he would sign the stopgap bill, seemingly backing off from his pledge from earlier this month to shut down the government if necessary in order to get a border wall.

But House Republicans are now reportedly scrambling to see if they can pass $5 billion in wall funding anyway. Politico later elaborated on the right-wing revolt against Trump:

On the brink of a Christmastime shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan is confronting resistance from rank-and-file Republicans, who have begun personally egging on Trump to force a shutdown over the wall.

The odds of a shutdown rose dramatically Thursday as Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan headed to the White House for a sit-down with Trump himself. Ryan and his deputies began making plans to put a funding bill on the floor that would deliver $5 billion to the border wall, in an attempt to make good on Trump’s promise in the final days of a GOP-controlled Congress.

After an emergency White House meeting Thursday afternoon with House Republican leadership, Trump looked to retreat on potential stop-gap deal, according to The Hill.

At this moment, the president does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall,” she said. “The president is continuing to weigh his options.”

Trump has refused to state publicly whether he will accept a funding bill without wall money, renewing the prospect of a partial government shutdown.

Trump has already taken to Twitter to try to stave off a right-wing defection by simultaneously blasting Democrats and praising his own supposed border security achievements.

"The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!" Trump tweeted on Thursday morning.

He added shortly thereafter, "With so much talk about the Wall, people are losing sight of the great job being done on our Southern Border by Border Patrol, ICE and our great Military. Remember the Caravans? Well, they didn’t get through and none are forming or on their way. Border is tight. Fake News silent!"

Finally, Trump posted a third tweet which said, "When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries - but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!"

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, expressed outrage on the House floor in a speech where he referenced the famous expression, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." He then said that there should be a new version of that line, "Fool the American people FOUR TIMES, shame on Congress!"

Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed similar dismay at the prospect of Trump conceding on the wall.

"I still maintain that a wall is symbolic," Limbaugh told his audience on Wednesday. "I know a lot of people believe that the wall was actually gonna be built, and I was one of the people hoping and supporting to be built, but even without the wall, there is still the need for border security. The wall was a representative of that. There isn’t going to be a penny additional for that. Yet while we are in debt to the tune now $21 trillion we are spending money left and right on things that are in direct contravention to what the purpose of spending on the wall would be!"

Eddie Scarry wrote an editorial for the Washington Examiner that blasted Trump for allowing his much-vaunted wall to be reduced to "steel slats."

The “wall” is now “steel slats.” The White House last month proudly sent out photos of said steel slats, calling it a wall. I guess those awe-inspiring wall prototypes we saw photographed in San Diego back in March were simply placed in some dump, right next to Trump’s regard for his supporters.

Those walls were nearly indestructible. We know now that they were scrapped in favor of steel slats that look like something you might let your children play safely behind. But the southern border isn’t in a Minnesota suburb. It’s up against Mexico, where drugs and immigrants are aggressively pushed into the country, overwhelming what little security we currently have.

And right-wing pundit Ann Coulter told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that Trump administration is "about to have a country where no Republican will ever be elected president again. Trump will just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people, amused the populists for a while. But he'll have no legacy whatsoever."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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