Schumer: We won't agree to more than $1.6 billion for the border wall. Although maybe we will.

For a laugh, scroll down through the replies by liberals to Manu Raju’s tweets transcribing Schumer’s answer today when he was asked about the wall. Trump wants $5 billion in funding next week to avert a shutdown. The lefty base naturally wants to give him nothing. They oppose the wall on the merits and on a visceral level hate the idea of handing Trump even a partial victory on his pet issue. The politics of the issue favor them too if you believe Morning Consult:

We had a national election three weeks ago and the open-borders party cleaned up in the House, with Pelosi set to enjoy veto power over funding Trump’s agenda six weeks from now. And on top of all of that, Schumer’s right when he says in the clip that Republicans momentarily control all three policymaking arms of the government, the White House and both houses of Congress. That makes it easy for Democrats to frame any shutdown next week as the fault of the GOP, especially since the public is already naturally primed to blame the, ahem, “small government party” whenever the feds turn the lights off.

Yet here’s Schumer not only agreeing up front to giving Trump a third of what he wants but holding open the door to further compromise away from the media’s cameras.

You can watch Raju ask that question at 20:00 below. Lefties are incensed. Chris Hayes’s reaction is typical.

All I can think is that Schumer’s utmost concern is preparing the battlespace politically for a shutdown. A billion and a half for the wall is a pittance, barely even a downpayment, and of course Pelosi will soon be in a position to bottle up further funding for the next two years. Probably all Schumer wants is to show the public that he’s willing to offer *something*. That way, when Trump demands more and the government shuts down, Democrats can claim that they made a perfectly reasonable offer and the border-hawk president wouldn’t take yes for an answer. He’s the one causing the shutdown over immigration, not them.

But if that’s Schumer’s play, why not say “$1.6 billion, take it or leave it”? What’s with that business about not negotiating in the press?

Exit question: Is President Deals also prepared to come off his $5 billion number? He mentioned a back-up plan for the wall in his interview with WaPo today, which the paper interpreted as a signal that he might soften a bit on his ask. I dunno — read the story and you’ll see that it sounds more like he’s thinking of alternate ways to start construction on the wall, beginning with putting the military (and the military’s budget?) to work.