A scene from the aftermath of today’s White House meeting with Chuck and Nancy about ending the shutdown. Schumer walked out and claimed that Trump said he’d continue the shutdown for months or even years if need be to secure wall funding. That was Trump’s cue to walk out and cry, “Fake news! I’m working overtime to end this thing and make sure federal workers get their next paycheck on time. It’s Democrats who are prepared to let it go on for years.” But David Frum is right about this:
Trump's strong ego need to say things that sound tough overrides his political need to shift blame for his actions onto others https://t.co/gitb6VgecN
— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 4, 2019
I’d call this POTUS’s “Colonel Jessup moment” on the shutdown but he already had that a few weeks ago in the Oval Office:
.@MajorCBS: According to @SenSchumer, you said in the meeting the shutdown could go on for months, or even a year or longer. Did you say that? @POTUS: I did, I did. Absolutely I said that. https://t.co/YYa34PeSTf pic.twitter.com/au9HLASOQc
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 4, 2019
The media reminded him of that earlier moment. Does he still want to admit to ordering the code red on the shutdown? You’re g-ddamned right he does.
.@HallieJackson: "Are you still proud to own this shutdown?"
President Trump: "I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing. I don't call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and for the safety of our country." #GovernmentShutdown pic.twitter.com/XPtYbrUEPy
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2019
Tough. Strong. Not so smart, maybe, especially with stories like this circulating. I give it another week before negotiations get serious, with Trump ultimately agreeing to take $2 billion in “border funding” or thereabouts as a moral victory. Or does he have an ace up his sleeve?
President Donald Trump is seriously considering potential options to circumvent Congress, including declaring a national emergency, to reprogram funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere to help pay for parts of his desired border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussions…
One administration official described the current executive action under consideration as clearing the way for the construction of roughly 115 miles of new border wall strictly on land owned by DoD, which would make up roughly 5 percent of the more than 2,000-mile border.
There is also a good chance the president would face legal challenges.
He was asked about that at today’s presser and said he was considering it. Setting aside the fact that the president invoking emergency powers to end a standoff with Congress is an egregiously bad precedent, there’s an obvious difference between building the wall on land which the feds already own versus building it on privately owned land. When reporters pressed him about that, he said he might use “the military version of eminent domain” to get it done. What he meant, no one knows. Probably it was a reference to federal land — they’ll repurpose land that’s already in the government’s possession and build a tiny fraction of the wall there. If he meant something else involving private land, that would be … big news. But then, he always has been a fan of eminent domain.
Every time he publicizes one of these stalemate meetings with Democrats, he makes it harder for himself politically to compromise. It’s like promoting a staring contest. The more public interest there is, the worse it looks when you blink. Although this caught my eye on Twitter today:
If you don’t know him, Ben Garrison is one of Trump’s most diehard fans in righty media, the cartoonist equivalent of Bill Mitchell. Normally you’d expect him to be flogging the Democrats during a shutdown standoff. In this case it’s Coulter and her demand for a wall at all costs that’s the target. You’re getting a sneak peek here at a potential rift in MAGA-land if/when Trump caves. Nationalists will be irate (for a few days) that he failed again to fund the wall; Trumpists will rally to him and call the nationalists ingrates for sniffing at all of his other victories. Trump has more cover among his base for compromising than he may think.
Exit question: Will landlords be as chill about federal workers not paying rent this month as Trump is?
Trump in conclusion: "The people that won't get next week's pay or the following week's pay, I think if you ever really looked at those people, I think they'd say, 'Mr. President, keep going, this is far more important.'"
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 4, 2019
Update: Well, here we go.
Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials.
The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure, especially as the shutdown enters its second week with no clear end to the political stalemate in sight…
“This problem of call outs is really going to explode over the next week or two when employees miss their first paycheck,” a union official at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport told CNN. “TSA officers are telling the union they will find another way to make money. That means calling out to work other jobs.”
What happens when flight schedules go FUBAR because there are too few TSA screeners on duty to screen passengers expeditiously?