Posted by Curt on 3 January, 2019 at 12:44 pm. 7 comments already!


The partial government shutdown rolls into its thirteenth day with no end in sight — and no budging of an iota on either side. Donald Trump won’t sign a funding bill without money for the border wall, and Democrats refuse to provide it. What’s keeping the two sides from hammering out some kind of face-saving compromise? According to Chuck Schumer and CNN’s source, it’s Trump’s ego:

President Donald Trump told a group of lawmakers he can’t accept Democrats’ offer to re-open the government as the two sides negotiate border wall funding because he “would look foolish if I did that,” according to a person familiar with the exchange. …

After Democrats explained their plan to pass measures funding the government — including the Department of Homeland Security — at least temporarily as negotiations continued, Schumer repeatedly asked Trump why he opposed that approach, the person familiar with the exchange said.

Eventually Schumer asked a third time for one reason Trump wouldn’t accept the offer, and Trump responded: “I would look foolish if I did that.”

NBC corroborated the exchange between Trump and Schumer from two other sources. Two of its White House sources disputed it, however:

Meanwhile, at yesterday’s immigration briefing at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer repeatedly asked Trump why he wouldn’t support the Democratic plan to pass the six appropriations bills NOT related to the Department of Homeland Security and the border wall, and Trump responded by saying, “I would look foolish if I did that,” two sources familiar with the meeting told NBC News, per Alex Moe, Hallie Jackson and Frank Thorp. (Two White House officials pushed back, suggesting that the president – when pressed by Schumer – was referring to how it wouldn’t make sense to agree to a plan that doesn’t include border security funding.)

The pushback is a six-of-one, half-dozen-of-another answer. Either way, it would look foolish to sign a bill that was about to pass three weeks ago before Trump balked. Not only would it kill Trump’s last remaining leverage to get border-wall funding in this cycle, but it would make the previous three weeks look like a long and futile temper tantrum. Trump has to get something out of this negotiation, or he has no incentive at all to end the standoff.

However, Trump’s hardly the only player unwilling to take an ego hit. Here’s the new Speaker of the House explaining to Savannah Guthrie that she won’t move an inch either, on the principle that she won’t spend billions to questionable effect:

One look at the federal budget makes that line laughable regardless of the party affiliation of the legislator who utters it. Equally laughable is Pelosi’s response to Guthrie’s reasonable question — if you’re not willing to compromise on this point, doesn’t that make you responsible for the shutdown as well? Heaven forfend, Pelosi responds:

Remember that Democrats voted to authorize a full barrier system on the southern border in 2006. That has never been completed, nor has it been funded; Democrats choked off efforts to fund that authorized project for the last twelve years. Pelosi and her defenders argue that the 2006 bill didn’t envision Trump’s version of the wall, but it certainly envisioned some sort of barrier, which was suggested in part from the 9/11 Commission. Enough Americans wanted to send the message a barrier represents that they elected Donald Trump to get it built. That’s a political fact that isn’t going to magically dissipate when Pelosi takes the gavel this afternoon.

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