Last week, President Donald Trump went toe to toe with House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, trying to give them an ultimatum to give him the $5 billion for his border wall or he would let the government shut down. It ended in disaster, with him actually taking credit for any potential shutdown. After reality finally set in for Trump that he was not getting his wall and he had set himself up to take the blame for any standoff, he caved, and said he would sign a continuing resolution without wall funding.
The president's surrender set off shockwaves on the right — and threw many of Trump's ardent supporters into a fury.
Right-wing news sites went crazy. The Drudge Report linked to an article about Trump's decision with the line "TRUMP IN RETREAT..." And Breitbart News devoted an article to how members of the House Freedom Caucus are now planning a "last stand" for the border wall in the House "after Trump's cave."
"It was supposed to be a 'big beautiful wall' with a 'big beautiful door.'" tweeted Fox News host Laura Ingraham. "Now it's just an open door with no frame. Unreal."
Right-wing author Ann Coulter, who has been fuming about Trump's lack of progress on his campaign promises for months, went even further. She unloaded on Trump as running a "joke presidency" that "scammed the American people," and that he will have "no legacy whatsoever." She added that she will refuse to vote for Trump in 2020 if the wall is not built by then.
And talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was similarly glum, proclaiming it "a great day for the swamp" and saying that "end this Congress without a shutdown" is not a good objective to settle for. "Trump's gonna get less than nothing because this compromise strips out the $1.6 billion for the wall that the Senate Appropriations Committee had already approved weeks ago. That's gone too. Not only, is there not gonna be five billion, there isn't gonna be $1.6 billion that was already allocated. So it’s an even better compromise in the minds of the Drive-By Media and the denizens of the swamp. Not a penny. Forget wall. Think border security."
In reality, Trump's wall was always just a fantasy. We actually already have a network of walls and fences on the parts of the border where it's practical to have them — some 580 miles worth, and it does virtually nothing for security even while it rips apart communities. Many parts of the border that don't have a wall include the Rio Grande, national parks, wildlife preserves, or private property, all of which would be varying degrees of legally, geographically, or environmentally prohibitive to put up a wall in.
Now that Democrats are about to take control of the House, Trump is being forced to face that reality. The question is whether his supporters will be.