Hundreds of thousands of workers are either furloughed or doing their jobs without pay, local economies are being strained by the resulting financial insecurity, faith in U.S. politics is dwindling even more than it already has, and vital public services are being neglected because of President Donald Trump’s reckless decision to close down the federal government in an effort to gain leverage to get funding for his ridiculous border wall.
And according to a new report, Trump is continuing in this destructive and counterproductive tactic for one main reason: He doesn’t want to look like a loser.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
During a private meeting with aides at Camp David on Sunday, Mr. Trump said he wanted them to come up with a resolution to the shutdown fight that would reopen the government without him appearing to have capitulated to Democrats, a person familiar with the meeting said.
This echoes a previous report that said Trump told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he wouldn’t accept a deal to reopen the government because he didn’t want to look “foolish.”
Democrats and Republicans have been continuing to meet for negotiations as the shutdown drags on, but it seems these talks haven’t led to any real progress. This isn’t surprising, though, because Trump’s position is untenable. Democrats are refusing to accede to his demands while he holds the government hostage. If they gave in on this one fight, he could use the tactic any other time and consider it the best way to get what he wants, even when he doesn’t have the votes in Congress.
Meanwhile, it’s not clear that anyone but Trump actually speaks for Trump. So while Democrats negotiate with lower-level aides, and even Vice President Mike Pence, there’s no reason for them to take any deal or concession seriously until it comes out of the president’s mouth. And with Trump’s threat that he might declare a national emergency in order to grab military funding to build the wall, Democrats have even less incentive to negotiate with him.
So until Trump finds a way that he thinks he can end the shutdown without looking incompetent — which he clearly is — it is likely to continue.