President Donald Trump is threatening a government shutdown if Congress refuses to fund his border wall — a project he once claimed Mexico would pay for.
President Donald Trump is threatening a government shutdown if he can’t get Congress to fund his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, a project he once promised the American people wouldn’t have to pay for.
On Tuesday night, Trump told supporters at a campaign rally that the wall would happen. “We’re going to have our wall,” he said. “The American people voted for immigration control. We’re going to get that wall.”
Disregard for a moment that Trump doesn’t have any semblance of a political mandate, for a wall or anything else, of any kind, despite what some lawmakers are claiming:
Congress will fund the wall. Trump will build the wall. It is a mandate from the American people. Honor the mandate from We the People!
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) August 24, 2017
Trump lost the popular vote for president by three million votes, and while he won the office fairly through the parameters set by the Electoral College, he can hardly claim that the people voted for a wall: a clear plurality, in fact, supported his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, who had campaigned against building it. Mandates require a clear message of support from the people, which Trump has not yet earned.
And let’s also disregard, for the time being, the fact that Trump promised the U.S. taxpayers that they wouldn’t pay for the wall itself, that Mexico would be footing the bill. Trump made that promise at several stops during his campaign last year. Now, suddenly, it is on Congress to fund a wall that, as everyone besides Trump and his core supporters realized long ago, Mexico never, ever was going to pay for.
Those two points are important, but there’s a larger point that needs to be considered: Trump is suggesting he plans to hold the country hostage over this single policy issue.
“[I]f we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he said.
This is not responsible government. This is not normal by any stretch of the imagination. And it shouldn’t be tolerated.
President Trump is certainly free to negotiate whichever way he wants to, but threatening a government shutdown to score a desperate political “win” shouldn’t be one of those ways. If he’s hell-bent on building a wall, he shouldn’t do it at the expense of programs and services that serve to aid the American people.
If a shutdown does occur, it will be Trump who gets the blame — a majority of Americans don’t even want the wall he’s proposing. So what good does it serve? In Trump’s view, it makes him look like a strong leader who is willing to stand up against a weak Congress.
In reality, it will hurt millions of Americans, create untold damage to our economy, and produce no outcome that will benefit the country overall. It’s a stupid ploy, and the president should backtrack his comments at once.