The president’s immovable position against Democrats is making an end to the shutdown far from over
WASHINGTON D.C. (UPI).- The theatrical showdown between Donald Trump and Democratic leaders, the televised message and the defiant trip to the border the following day seemed to confirm observers’ fears: an advance in negotiations to end one of the longest shutdowns in United States history is far from over.
Key government operations remained closed for a 21st day and roughly 800,000 federal workers remained without pay, both the president and the Democrats have retreated into their own corners. As far as Trump is concerned, it has to be his way and any deal must fulfill his long-lasting vow to build a wall across the southern border. The head of the executive branch has threatened to declare a national emergency over the situation at the border – a move he believes would allow him to circumvent Congress and begin the construction of a wall on his own – if lawmakers refuse to fund the project.
Trump’s position is inflexible with Democrats, now a majority after the 2018 midterms. They have called for a government funding bill that maintains spending at current levels, rejecting Trump’s insistence on $5.7 billion USD for a border wall.
Different surveys, amongst them the ones from Reuters/Ipsos show a very large amount of Americans blaming Trump for the shutdown, further isolating him, with only his ardent supporters in favor of the White House strategy.
Federal government employees gathered near the White House in a rally to end the shutdown. The rally was organized by federal employee labor unions. USA TODAY
Few options remain left at the president’s disposal, in part because the only true crisis was one of Trump’s own making.
Michael Steel said “Trump had backed himself and the Republicans into a corner by insisting on a wall despite a bipartisan agreement in the Senate last month that would have punted a debate over immigration and border security until after a shutdown was first averted”. Steel added that Trump’s public appeals this week, which the president himself was reluctant to give, were not going to earn Democratic votes “in any way, shape or form”.
While the concept of a border wall is broadly popular with the Trump´s base, the proposal does not have the same traction with a large majority of the American public. Even so, Trump struck a defiant tone during his visit to the border town of McAllen, Texas, on Thursday, where once against suggested criminals and terrorists are freely flowing across the border. However, fact checking shows:
- The rate of illegal immigration has fallen dramatically over the past decade.
- Undocumented population in the US hit a 12-year low last year
- Studies have shown that illegal immigration does not increase violent crime.
Last Thursday Trump said he was “definitely” prepared to declare a national emergency, despite warnings, even from conservatives, that such a move would amount to presidential overreach.
Government workers have launched 1,000 GoFundMe pages as shutdown drags on.
Republicans in Congress have largely stood behind the president, although some cracks have emerged this week as lawmakers feel pressure from constituents back home to end the impasse.
The Yucatan Times