Podcast: Will Donald Trump's shutdown temper tantrum strike again?

The Amen Corner podcast goes deep on about the government shutdown that should never have happened

By Steven A. Cook - Brad Rothschild
January 29, 2019 3:35PM (UTC)
main article image
Donald Trump argues about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby in the Oval Office on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Getty/Mark Wilson)

Donald Trump’s self-professed masterful negotiation skills are just another con that he perpetuated on the American people. As the 35-day government shutdown mercifully has come to an end -- while we await the next one -- once again it’s clear that the emperor truly has no clothes.

On this week’s episode of The Amen Corner podcast, Brad and Steven discuss how Trump had no choice but to cave, because of his dropping polling numbers combined with Friday’s big delays at major airports in the Northeast -- which were due to staffing shortages not of TSA agents, but of air traffic controllers. Shut down air travel into or out of New York, and suddenly people start to look for an exit strategy.


As all the papers of record have written, Trump put himself in a corner and had no way out. That is often the case with temper tantrums. We love how his surrogates and mouthpieces were spouting nonsense about how his cave was really a great win for him. What do we expect, though? That his supporters are going to admit that he got his clock cleaned, and by a woman, no less?

The joke would be a lot funnier, however, if it weren’t such a tragedy for our country. The unnecessary government shutdown over an unneeded and symbolic wall is a testament to the administration’s ineptitude, fecklessness, and sheer meanness. What else can you say about a shutdown that never should have happened?


So, we pivoted to Roger Stone’s arrest. He is such a lowlife that even the Nixon Foundation is trying to distance itself from him, another shining example of how Trump surrounds himself with only the best people. As more and more of the president’s campaign advisors and associates head to court or prison (90 have been indicted!), it’s becoming clearer to us that the next domino that’s going to fall is going to be Donald Trump Jr.

What are the chances that the President lets his own son twist in the wind?  High.  But it turns out that it isn’t Donald Trump Jr. who is Fredo in this flaccid remake of the Godfather epic, it’s the president himself. Like Fredo, he’s weak and stupid (to paraphrase Michael Corleone), yet demands a level of respect that he can only get from those people who cannot keep up with the pace of change in the world. He promised them Sonny but they got Fredo instead. We don’t feel sorry for them for some reason, though.

To hear this and more, listen to Season 3, Episode 19 of The Amen Corner. Steven and Brad go in-depth on Trump's negotiation skills, how his cave on the government shutdown is just another example of his ineptitude, and why so many of the “best people” surrounding the president are heading to the big house.


You can listen to The Amen Corner in lots of ways. On iTunesSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play, or your favorite RSS aggregator.

Steven A. Cook

Steven A. Cook's day job is as a foreign policy analyst in Washington, DC. His most recent book, "False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East," was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

MORE FROM Steven A. Cook

Brad Rothschild

Brad Rothschild is a documentary filmmaker. He produced the award-winning documentary feature, Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald. Brad directed the documentary film “African Exodus,” about Israel’s African refugees and the documentary film “Tree Man,” about the people who come to New York City to sell Christmas trees every holiday season. He is currently making a film about efforts to combat gun violence in Chicago.

MORE FROM Brad Rothschild