Perhaps Donald Trump has finally realized just how weak of a position he’s now in, with no remaining bargaining power on any side. Maybe he’s just that resentful toward his own party. Maybe he’s just tired. It could be all three. But whatever the reason, Trump gave up today and handed a major victory to Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer by caving to their demands, over the loud objections of the Republicans.
Earlier in the week, the Democrats floated the idea of attaching a three month increase in the debt ceiling to the Hurricane Harvey relief bill. Storm relief was ultimately going to pass no matter what, and anyone who forced a delay in it was going to look bad, so no one involved had any real leverage in terms of forcing additions to it. But today Trump decided to simply hand the Democrats what they wanted (link). Trump doesn’t gain anything from this move, as Harvey relief is so thoroughly expected by the public that it won’t reward any politician for supporting it, and it’s not as if the Democrats are going to let up when it comes to investigating Trump’s numerous criminal scandals. But the move sure has infuriated the Republican majority in Congress.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse released a statement which read “The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad.” That was the entirety of his statement. He presumably left off what he really meant, which is that the deal is “bad for the Republican Party.” This deal means the Republicans in Congress will be forced to take ownership of the debt ceiling in three months, right around the time they’ll be promoting the idea of exploding the deficit with tax cuts for the wealthy. It also puts yet another item on a to-do list for a Republican Congress that hasn’t been able to get anything done to date. But the biggest damage here might be what Trump just inflicted on himself.
Under most circumstances, bipartisanship is seen as a good thing by the public – but this is an entirely different situation. Those who oppose Donald Trump won’t be moved by his latest gesture, and will continue to seek his ouster due to his theft of the election and his numerous other major crimes. Trump’s own supporters see Pelosi and Schumer as the enemy, and they’ll view this move as weakness on Trump’s part. It also hands significant political power to Nancy Pelosi, who is set to become Speaker of the House if the Democrats retake the majority in the midterms.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report