Bill Maher to Ann Coulter: What was your first clue that Trump was a con man?

You don’t often to get to watch a liberal and a right-wing populist teaming up to dunk on Trump. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Actually, Coulter spends more time in the clip trying to sell Maher’s audience on reducing illegal immigration than she does smacking around POTUS. If it’s Trump-bashing you want, skip the online rants from nationalists and stick to today’s mainstream news coverage, which is brutal. For instance, here’s Politico torturing the White House by hyping the idea that Trump was getting close to winning before finally buckling under the pressure yesterday:

Trump’s fold came at just the right time for Pelosi, who presides over a caucus filled with anxious centrists and freshmen desperate for any signs of progress that the stalemate — the longest shutdown in U.S. history — was ending. While a vast majority of her members supporter her strategy through and through, several dozen started feeling restless…

During several meetings of the more pragmatic-minded New Democrats Coalition, lawmakers expressed exasperation that the Pelosi-favored hashtag “#TrumpShutdown” wasn’t enough to shield them from angry constituents back home. Other members, like freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, complained that the messaging strategy Pelosi had laid out may work for solid blue districts but wouldn’t hold water in her Republican-populated stronghold.

“Some even privately admitted they may have to cave to Trump’s border wall demand if their constituents continued to take financial hits,” Politico went on to say, noting that House Democrats were especially annoyed when Pelosi rejected Trump’s compromise proposal last weekend before it had even been officially announced. Oh well. As it is, a different Politico story quotes a former White House official assessing yesterday’s damage in stark terms: “President Nancy Pelosi, she runs the country now.” To which a former Trump campaign official added, “He’s going to cave again in [three] weeks. Democrats have Trump by the balls.”

He’s looking for scapegoats, reports WaPo:

Trump, who fretted about the shutdown’s impact on the economy and his personal popularity, cast about for blame and pointed fingers at his staff — including Kushner — for failing to resolve the impasse, according to aides.

At a meeting Wednesday with conservative groups, the president accused former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) of having “screwed him” by not securing border wall money when Republicans had the majority, according to one attendee, Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He said Ryan should have gotten him money before he left but he had no juice and had “gone fishing,” according to two attendees.

Ryan wouldn’t have been the big obstacle to wall funding; the Senate would have, thanks to the filibuster. What Trump means in blaming Ryan, I assume, is that the Republican House didn’t rush to appropriate the wall money during the lame-duck session, to get it on the books before Pelosi took over. I don’t recall any major Trump-driven populist campaigns aimed at Ryan to cough up $25 billion for the wall before the midterms, though. I think maybe POTUS really did believe his own BS before November that the polls were once again wrong and that a red wave, not a blue one, was headed for the House on Election Day. That was goofy, but if he’d have been right then he could have taken his time and secured the money easily now. He gambled on Republicans winning and lost everything.

He’s probably going to try to gamble again with a new shutdown three weeks now, especially if people on all sides keep taunting him for wimping out. The weaker he looks, the more desperate he’ll become to find a way to show strength again:

Trump and Kushner somehow may be under the impression that they stand a chance of winning wall money in the next round of negotiations. “Ultimately, aides said, Trump was willing to table debate over wall funding because he is convinced he can win support from some Democratic lawmakers over the next three weeks,” reports WaPo. A White House official also tells the paper that they’ve gotten “dozens of signals from Democrats that they are willing to give the president wall money.” Imagine the sort of political death wish a Democrat would need to harbor to celebrate a major left-wing victory over Trump yesterday on the wall by turning around and handing him the money anyway. *If* there was any critical mass of nervous House Dems who were thinking of going their way if the shutdown dragged on further (and there probably wasn’t), that’s gone now. In Pelosi they trust.

And in McConnell they trust too. It wasn’t just House Democrats who were on the verge of revolting, after all. McConnell reportedly told Pence point blank on Thursday afternoon that it was time to make the shutdown go away, as he feared he couldn’t ensure party unity much longer. “A lot of the conference wanted to end the shutdown by any means possible,” one Republican senator told Politico, adding, “Nothing is going to happen. This is surrender. I don’t see how it becomes anything. It’s just complete, total surrender.” They’re not going to go through this again. If Trump threatens to start a new shutdown by vetoing whatever Congress ends up producing three weeks, whether it’s a clean funding bill or some modest deal on generic “border security” funding, he’s risking an override in the Senate. Which, by the way, might break the party but would serve Trump’s narcissistic ends in turning populist outrage at him towards a more comfortable target. “I was prepared for another shutdown!” he’ll tell fans. “It was McConnell and the Senate who abandoned me.” That play would restore some of Trump’s standing among nationalists. It would also damage the GOP’s odds of holding the Senate in 2020.

I’m on record as believing it’ll all blow over, though, even if he cucks out again in mid-February. I won’t rehash the argument but Kurt Schlichter’s new column will give you insight into why. There are some staunch border hawks within MAGA Nation who won’t forgive this betrayal, but they’re negligible. The vast, vast, vast majority will agree with Kurt — if not this afternoon then soon enough.