Millions of people and their families are suffering because they aren’t getting paid during the government shutdown, but Trump refuses to open government because he thinks that he is winning.
On the 20th day of the shutdown, the GOP group tried to jump start bipartisan talks before Trump declares a national emergency to get his wall. But the president rejected their idea to allow congressional committees to sort out his border wall request while the government reopened, deeming the idea likely to leave him with nothing to show for the shutdown.
Vice President Mike Pence and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had been consulting with senators about the matter on Thursday. Pence and Mulvaney took the idea to the president, who shot it down, according to multiple people directly involved in the talks. While the congressional committees could still take up Trump’s border wall plan, the president opposes the idea of opening the government before serious wall negotiations have begun, the people said. He told Senate Republicans he believes he is winning the fight and will not sign any stopgap bills at this point.
Trump thinks he’s winning when he is losing
The idea that the president thinks that he is winning when he is losing is very on-brand for Trump. Donald Trump has sold winning for decades, even though he makes bad business deals and loses. Trump doesn’t just sell his own mythology of winning. He believes it to the core, which is how he can ignore protests in the streets, declining poll numbers, and growing outrage over the government shutdown.
The Republican Party knows that they are losing, but they too afraid of crossing Trump’s supporters to step up and do the right thing. The crisis would end if the Senate would pass legislation to open the government, and then override Trump’s veto if he vetoes the bill. Political reality says that a party will go out of their way not to override a veto from their own president.
The goal of putting pressure on Mitch McConnell is to cause a break within the Republican caucus. The Majority Leader is not going to do anything to defy Trump, but he can pressure Trump to open the government.
Trump is losing, human suffering is growing, and the Republican Party is too spineless to step up and stop him.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association