In a jaded world where secrets are increasingly hard to keep, Trump earns points for authenticity. Pelosi and Schumer repeatedly urged that their negotiating be done in private, but Trump countered with talk of “transparency.” I’m a fan of smoke-filled backrooms, but it pains me to say that Trump seized the high ground (in terms of public opinion) here.
If you are a supporter of the president’s policies, this was an especially welcome display—a rare example of a president publicly fighting for his policy goal: a border wall. The public fight is important. There is no doubt that Trump supporters are passionate about the border wall. The proof that Trump is rhetorically fighting for it is vital—especially if he never actually delivers it.
But maybe he will. For those conservatives who championed Trump based on his status as a fighter, he doesn’t get points just for standing up for the wall. However, he does get extra points for not cowering in the face of a government shutdown.