Whose mother didn’t tell them at one time or another in their childhood, “The world doesn’t owe you a living”? Presumably Donald Trump’s. Or if she did, it was a lesson Trump failed to learn, like so many other lessons. When it finally became clear even to the delusional brain of Donald Trump that, no, Mexico is not going to pay for his wall, Mexico does not owe Trump a living, nor will he be able to force Mexico to pay for it through tariffs, he did what he always does, what he does best. He assigned blame.
“I would be willing to “shut down” government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, signaling it’s the American taxpayer who owes him that living, and the Democrats are to blame if he doesn’t get it.
The wall is an obsession for Donald Trump. One of a handful of seminal campaign pledges made and broken. None in his rabidly drooling base would mind or notice if he dropped it. Yet this is the one he simply can’t seem to let go of. He blithely ignored his promise to release his tax returns if elected, thinks nothing of his failure to “get” ISIS in his first hundred days, or provide the American people with a healthcare plan superior to the Affordable Care Act. But the wall? The wall is key to Donald Trump.
The wall is Trump’s monument to himself, his pyramid. Trump as latter-day Hadrian finds the wall an irresistible symbol of Trump, and, as he’s already demonstrated so selfishly this past month, not the continued functioning of the government, not America’s deteriorating reputation abroad, not loyalty to America itself in defiance of her greatest foe, is its equal in significance to Trump.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.