What does this idiot even think he’s doing? He has no leverage for getting anything more on immigration than what’s already on the table. The polls say that the public will overwhelmingly blame him and his party if the government is shut down. His own words from past years reveal that he once understood that the president ends up taking the blame for a shutdown. Yet he’s still sitting on his hands, babbling incoherently, with neither side having any idea what he is or isn’t willing to sign. He’s backed himself into a corner, and it may be his biggest screw up yet.
Trump tweeted on Friday evening that he’d just had an “excellent” meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But not only did that meeting fail to produce a deal, his tweet merely served to steer people to Schumer’s own Twitter page. Schumer had just tweeted an old Trump quote from 2011 in which he said “if there is a shutdown I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the president of the United States. He’s the one that has to get people together.” Can Trump find any way to look stupider on this? As it turns out, yes.
Major polls now say that if the government is shut down, roughly fifty percent of Americans will blame Trump and the Republicans, while roughly thirty percent of Americans will blame the Democrats. There are those on each side who are going to blame the other side no matter what. But these numbers suggest that, when it comes to those who don’t have a side, nearly all of them are going to blame Trump for this mess. And his own party is in such chaotic disarray over this, there is no possible way they can come up with any legislation right now that would give Trump more than what’s currently there for the taking.
In other words, Donald Trump can’t win this. There’s no fight here. The very best outcome for him is that he signs something he doesn’t like at the last minute and gains nothing, while looking like an idiot for having thrown a no-gain tantrum. The worst outcome is that his pouting leads to a government shutdown, and he takes the blame for everything that goes wrong during that shutdown. Trump can’t win this one. Now he’s left to decide how humiliatingly he wants to lose it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report