As Shutdown Continues, Trump Inches Closer To Declaring ‘National Emergency’

The government shutdown has now entered historic territory, and the Trump Administration is moving closer to a "national emergency" or other extra-legal means to get money for his wall.

As the government shutdown heads into record-breaking territory, surpassing the three-week long shutdown of December 1995 to January 1996 of the Clinton/Gingrich Era assuming, as seems likely, it lasts through the end of today, the White House seems to be inching closer to making an end run around Congress and the Constitution and declaring a “national emergency” to get his wall built or otherwise finding a way to divert funds allocated by Congress for other purposes, including disaster relief, to pay for construction of the wall

McALLEN, Tex. — President Trump traveled to the border on Thursday to warn of crime and chaos on the frontier, as White House officials considered diverting emergency aid from storm- and fire-ravaged Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California to build a border barrier, perhaps under an emergency declaration.

In a sign of growing unease about the partial government shutdown, some Senate Republicans came off the sidelines to hash out a deal that would reopen the government as Congress worked toward a broader agreement tying wall funds to protection for some undocumented immigrants and other migrants.

But before those negotiations could gain momentum, they collapsed. Vice President Mike Pence and other members of Mr. Trump’s team let it be known privately that the president would not back such a deal.

“It kind of fell apart,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who was among those Republicans seeking a deal.

But Mr. Trump’s advisers, including his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have urged him to try to find other approaches than declaring a national emergency. Mr. Kushner’s role was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The advisers have warned him of a range of possible negative outcomes, particularly the risk of losing in court, people familiar with the discussions said.

Aides have suggested that Mr. Trump would be giving a dysfunctional Congress a pass from fulfilling its duties if he makes an aggressive move. And some of his more conservative advisers have suggested a national emergency declaration is a form of government overreach that is antithetical to conservative principles.

As the shutdown neared Day 21 — the second longest in history — Mr. Trump used a visit to a border facility in McAllen, Tex., to blame the protracted shutdown on Democrats, charging that their opposition to a wall was responsible for brutal crime and violence.

“You’ll have crime in Iowa, you’ll have crime in New Hampshire, you’ll have crime in New York” without a wall, he warned.

“We could stop that cold,” he added.

Mr. Trump also repeated his demand for the money from Congress while saying that Mexico would somehow provide funds indirectly for the wall, a contradiction of what he said in December when he wrote in a Twitter post, “I often stated, ‘One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.’ ”

“I didn’t say they’re going to write me a check for $10 billion or $20 billion,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday. “If Congress approves this trade bill, they’ll pay for the wall many times over. When I say Mexico’s going to pay for the wall, that’s what I mean.”

It was among the bewildering statements that underscored his often contradictory attempts to force Democrats to capitulate. Mr. Trump renewed his threat to declare a national emergency and build his wall without congressional approval.

“We can declare a national emergency,” Mr. Trump said. “We shouldn’t have to.”

(…)

The implosion of the congressional deal left lawmakers bracing for Mr. Trump to declare a national emergency. Senior Democrats were exploring both legislative and legal options to challenge the move.

The president is allowed to divert unspent money from projects under a national emergency. But a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential discussions, questioned the legality of using Army Corps funding, saying it would be subject to restrictions under the Stafford Act, which governs disaster relief. The official said the process was as much a political exercise intended to threaten projects Democrats valued as a pragmatic one.

“That would be a travesty,” Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview.

“It’s all speculative at this point,” he said, alluding wryly to Mr. Trump’s penchant for abrupt announcements at all hours of the day and night. “Until we get a tweet at 2:30 tomorrow morning, we won’t know.”

More from Politico:

President Donald Trump on Thursday gave the strongest signal yet that he will declare a national emergency in an effort to secure billions of dollars for a border wall, as negotiations on Capitol Hill to reopen the federal government continue to flounder.

The possible move by Trump would almost certainly trigger an immediate response from House Democratic leaders, who could pursue both congressional and legal avenues to try to halt such unprecedented action. It’s one of the few options left at the table after Trump rejected the work of Senate Republicans hoping they can craft a procedural framework that would allow the government to reopen and then immediately turn to an immigration debate.

An emergency declaration by Trump could also end the partial government shutdown if congressional leaders agree to reopen shuttered agencies and let the border wall drama play out in the courts.

“If we don’t make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that. I would actually say I would,” Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview at the southern border that aired Thursday night on Fox News. “I can’t imagine any reason why not,” he said, adding that “we are going to see what happens over the next few days.”

Earlier, the president told reporters outside the White House on his way to McAllen, Texas, that he had an “absolute right” to declare the emergency.

Vice President Mike Pence closed off the move by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other GOP senators to come up with an agreement to end the shutdown, showing how hard it is to get the White House on the same page as other Republicans. Pence publicly shot down the idea and also privately relayed to Senate Republicans that Trump will not reopen the government until he gets a solution on the wall.

Graham said he was “depressed” by the move, but then later endorsed the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency even after raising questions of whether Congress would vote to disapprove of such a move.

“It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier. I hope it works,” he said in a statement.

But not all Republicans are supportive of the idea.

“I would advise against that as a bad precedent,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

During a visit to the border, Trump told reporters that he would be open to a larger deal on immigration that would help young immigrants — “We want to help the Dreamers,” he said — though he declined to link it directly to reopening the government.

“But I would like to do a much broader form of immigration, and we could do immigration reform, it’ll take longer, it’s been complex, it’s been going on for 30, 35 years, talking about immigration reform,” Trump said. “Before we do that, we have to create a barrier. That we can do very quickly.”

Graham and a small group of Senate GOP colleagues pitched getting the congressional committees to work on a potential trade — Democrats agree to billions of dollars in funding for Trump’s border wall in exchange for temporary protections for immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. Under that idea, the government would have reopened while Congress fights out the wall battle.

But Democrats were never read in on the proposal, and Pence signaled Trump wouldn’t go along with it either.

“I think the president feels that we’re waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about DACA,” Pence told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday afternoon. “We’re confident the Supreme Court will find DACA to have been unconstitutional. And at that time, [Trump] believes there will be an opportunity for us not only to address the issue affecting the Dreamers, but also a broader range of immigration issues.”

Pence reiterated that there must be money for Trump’s wall project in an agreement to fund the government: “No wall, no deal.”

With no deal or prospect of a deal in sight, it’s hard to say where things proceed from here. While it’s theoretically possible that Congress itself could get together and pass some form of legislation that would call the Presidents bluff, and survive an expected Presidential veto, the odds of that happening any time soon are fairly low for reasons that seem rather obvious. Meanwhile, House Democrats continue to pass bills that would open various parts of the government not impacted by the border wall debate in an effort to force Republicans in the Senate to act. So far at least, though, Republicans in the Senate have bitten and there hasn’t been a sufficient amount of pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to move off of the position he’s taken that he will not put a bill on the floor that the President has not agreed to, preferably in writing. Given the extent to which the White House burned McConnell just prior to the shutdown started when the Senate unanimously passed a measure that temporarily funded the government without funding the wall only to see the President turn around and pull the rug out from under him days later after coming under criticism from the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, one can understand McConnell’s position now. At some point, though, one is going to have to wonder whether it’s still worthwhile for him to effectively sit on the sidelines, especially as members of his own caucus become more and more restless as the days go on.

Given this, the idea that this is going to be over in a week, two weeks, or even a month seems like a fanciful dream at this point. Even the stories about Federal workers, furloughed and otherwise, going without pay, and the other ways in which the shutdown is impacting everyday life not only for people who work for the Federal Government or depend on Federal workers in some way or another are not having an impact on either Congress or the President. Soon, we will see Federal Courts facing a funding shortfall in coming days as the efforts to rely on money from fines and other sources come to an end. The shutdown is also having an impact outside the Federal Government as Federal contractors and businesses that rely on Federal workers are starting to feel the pinch. Finally, people who rely on food stamps and early tax filers looking to get their refunds from the Internal Revenue Service are likely to be impacted as the shutdown goes on. The longer the shutdown goes on the more this impact will spread, and yet nothing seems to be moving Republicans, who are primarily responsible for this debacle from moving off their current position.

All of this leads to the threat from the White House and the President that we will soon see either a declaration of a “national emergency” or some other means to divert Federal funding from its intended purpose toward a border wall in a manner that allows the President to claim “victory.” In the first regard, as I explained in detail earlier this week, it seems clear that a “national emergency” declaration under these circumstances would be illegal and in any case would be tied up in the courts for years before finally being resolved. This is especially true given the fact that the President has essentially admitted that he would be declaring a “national emergency” because he can’t get his with Congress. This is politics, not the kind of crisis that would justify a “national emergency” under existing Federal law, and it’s likely that a Federal Court, and likely even the Supreme Court, which has on its books the precedent set in  Youngstown Steel & Tube Co. v. Sawyer343 U.S. 579 (1952), would view it in the same manner. In any case, the fact that any “national emergency” declaration would be tied up in court for perhaps the balance of Trump’s first term in office means that it would do nothing toward getting the wall built.

As for the second proposal to use money that Congress has allocated to the Defense Department to build the wall, even though Congress has not explicitly organized such an action. As with the idea of a “national emergency,” while there are arguably some provisions of law that might permit this, the balance of Federal law says exactly the opposite, For example, this action would seem to directly violate long-standing Federal laws regarding the Federal budget such as the Federal Budget And Accounting Act and the Congressional Budget And Impoundment Act of 1974. The first law basically restates the Constitutional fact that Congress controls the purse strings and that the Executive Branch cannot spend money in a manner not authorized by Congress. The second strengthened those laws and limited the ability of the President to do things like refuse to spend allocated funds or use funds in an unauthorized manner. What all this means is that this move, which would fall short of declaring a “national emergency” would also end up in Court and would likely result in any action taken by the Trump Administration put on hold for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps this is what the President wants. Take an obviously illegal action, get it stopped for the foreseeable future by the Courts, and then tell his supporters he did what he could to get the wall. At that point, he could sign a clean budget bill and get the government reopened. The damage he would do to Constitutional norms and the Rue of Law in the meantime don’t seem to matter to him at all, but that’s hardly surprising.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Of all possible paths forward that re-open government while Trump keeps yammering about his wall, getting a budget while he declares a national emergency seems like the most realistic and least damaging choice – we can deal with the legality and logistics of that action elsewhere. That’s where we are.

    ReplyReply
  2. KM says:

    @Joe:
    I’d rather not set fire to the house just because the repairman won’t get out of his van to come fix the heater. The answer is to get another repairman, not cause damage and “deal with it later”. The damage done is now you’ll have given a Trump a method of throwing a tantrum whenever he pleases to screw us all over. You don’t negotiate with terrorists for a good reason.

    Where we are is we need to stop focusing on Trump since he’s clearly not going to do sh^t to fix this and start hammering all the weak GOP Senators in compliance. We’ll get the votes and it will end up on Trump’s desk. If he chooses to vote, he’ll be essentially killing his own party and ensuring enough votes for the override. Dems need to get out of defeatist, capitulation mode and realize the country’s starting to see the freaking obvious: Trump’s hurting them *on purpose* and is willing to cause a crisis to get his own way.

    ReplyReply
    13
  3. KM says:

    Trump’s willing to take disaster funds from people in need to fund this ego project. How well do you think this is going to go over with people when tornadoes or hurricanes hit? When floods and fires ruin homes, people should be comforted that hey, at least that money’s going to a theoretical wall a decade or more away (and a kickback in Trump’s pocket)?

    Repubs are feeling the heat. There’s already dissenters in the Senate and more will break ranks after today. The longer this goes on, the more the public is seeing how much Trump’s willing to ruin them to get his ego project done. Hold the Senate accountable – tell them to have the vote and be ready for an override of a Presidential veto. A “national emergency” invented out of whole cloth should be a glaring red line for them…. because if nothing else, they should understand the next Dem President is going to take the ball and run with it.

    ReplyReply
  4. Slugger says:

    There is no way of calculating what Mr. “ I never said Mexico will pay for the wall” will do next. He will do whatever pleases him in that moment. The only rational move is to decide what we, the people, want and need and stick to those things. We need leaders who articulate the peoples’ needs clearly. Mr. Trump can go ahead and be angry, very angry; that’s fine. He can’t be reasoned with. Let’s ignore him. Certainly, we can not allow circumvention of our norms. Where are those pocket sized copies of the Constitution that were being waved about not long ago?

    ReplyReply
  5. Kathy says:

    Saying the Dennison Vanity Wall is a response to a national emergency, would be like looking for an architect specializing in fire-proof buildings when your house is on fire.

    If the remedy for an”emergency” will take a decade or so to implement, then it’s clearly not an emergency.

    ReplyReply
  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Kind of makes you wonder what people who live in countries with real (i.e. not self-inflicted) problems think about all this. No wonder terrorists hate us for our freedoms.

    A republic if you can keep it. – Ben

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just. – Tom

    ReplyReply
  7. Joe says:

    I don’t think I disagree with you, KM, but I would like to get the government open ASAP. But I think letting Trump steer toward his national emergency gives us a place to isolate that fight. I think it should be a big fight for many of the reasons stated by other commentators and I also think that both houses of Congress should reject it as they are allowed to do.

    ReplyReply
  8. grumpy realist says:

    Dunno if it’s the shutdown or my inability to navigate the IRS website, but I haven’t been able to place an order for the physical 1099-MISC forms nor the 1096 form I need to file for my company.

    Trump and his supporters seem willing to burn down the US if Trump doesn’t get what he wants. The antics of a screaming, hysterical, spoiled toddler. Except with nukes.

    ReplyReply
  9. James Pearce says:

    The damage he would do to Constitutional norms and the Rue of Law in the meantime don’t seem to matter to him at all, but that’s hardly surprising.

    He’s a gangster and gangster’s don’t worry about the damage they do.

    Some people think he’s Fredo, but he sound like a Michael. “Senator? You can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this: Nothing.”

    ReplyReply
  10. mattbernius says:

    As I wrote yesterday, I think there are only two realistic resolution paths:

    1. Enough moderate Republicans in the Senate feel threatened and force a vote on the continuing spending measures. At that point, Trump has to decide if he’s going to veto his own party. Contra James, there is no doubt in my mind that Democrats would definitely welcome this option (if for no other reason than it would create huge fissures within the Republican party and be a giant headache for McConnell).

    However, for all those reasons, I expect that once that looks like it’s going to become a reality, Trump will pull the trigger on option 2:

    2. National Emergency. After that, it’s a mad dash to find someone with standing to sue and the entire thing trudges through the courts for the next few years with little to no action.

    From a “good of the nation” option, I honestly think the National Emergency would be the best for everyone — if for no other reason, I think we could hit bipartisan consensus in Congress to amend/fix that deeply broken law (something that won’t happen if Trump backs off of this). The reality is once the norm is violated, I think both parties realize there is no going back to it (and the law needs to be fixed). If that happens — the law is repealed/fixed — then I think it’s a good trade for the country (especially as most experts expect that everything gets tied up in the courts for quite a while).

    Also, I think that Trump pulling the trigger on the Action would also fracture Republicans (though no where near as greatly). And that is also a (small) win for Democrats in terms of 2020 senate and presidential elections.

    ReplyReply
  11. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: But we’re supposed to just give in and provide Trump with whatever he wants, right?

    Even the naivest parent knows that if you give in to a screaming toddler in a meltdown you just encourage them to go on more meltdowns. Why is giving in to Trump any different? You’ll just have rewarded him for his antics.

    DUMB.

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  12. Mister Bluster says:

    When has Pud said he would end the government shutdown when he declares a national emergency?
    Why would anyone think that Senate Republicans will override a veto?
    McConnell is a Trump toady who, like all Republicans, is terrified of his Supreme Leader’s minions.
    He won’t bring any bill to a vote that defies our Pervert-in Chief.

    ReplyReply
  13. Pete S says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Exactly. He is enjoying the shutdown and all the leverage he thinks it gives him. If he declares an emergency to get around Congress’ refusal to pretend to give him a wall, he will just make a new ludicrous demand to “negotiate” reopening the government.

    In a way it makes sense that he would try to move emergency relief funds to wall building. He saw last year especially with Puerto Rico that some large contracts for large amounts of money went to companies that weren’t remotely able to fulfill the contract but still got paid. I am sure he envisions some wall money going into a subsidiary or Trump Organization and no wall getting built.

    ReplyReply
  14. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    But we’re supposed to just give in and provide Trump with whatever he wants, right?

    Trump is a gangster, not a toddler. If you don’t pay the protection money, the thugs will destroy your store. So don’t think of it as “giving in.” Think of it as saving yourself a lot of pain that is going to be harder to cope with than the shame of “giving in.”

    @mattbernius:

    2. National Emergency. After that, it’s a mad dash to find someone with standing to sue and the entire thing trudges through the courts for the next few years with little to no action.

    At what point will there be some awareness from Dems that they might have lost on this issue?

    ReplyReply
    16
  15. CSK says:

    @James Pearce:

    Fredo is usually the appellation given to Trump Junior and/or Eric, I believe.

    ReplyReply
  16. Michael Cain says:

    As for no deal in sight, read the letter the National Governors Association (29 Republicans, 21 Democrats, plus the territories) sent to Trump and the Congress earlier this week. With my old state legislative budget analyst hat on, the translation is, “The wheels are starting to come off state budgets. Turn the dollar spigot back on now. Settle your political squabble later.” By this time, Republican Congress critters are getting absolutely blistering phone calls from Republican governors and state legislative leaders. My prediction all along has been that about the end of next week, the Congressional Republicans will fold rather than see their party get blamed for the serious pain about to happen in their states. The appropriations bills will pass, and McCarthy and McConnell will tell Trump the truth: they don’t have the votes to sustain a veto.

    ReplyReply
  17. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: You don’t call for law enforcement; you don’t arm yourself; you don’t do anything. You just snivel in the corner, whine “oh don’t hurt me!” and eagerly give up your bank account details, the family silver, and your wife and daughters to the two-bit bluffer strutting around the block because you’re afraid of him.

    What an absolute wuss you are.

    ReplyReply
  18. Jen says:

    @James Pearce:

    Think of it as saving yourself a lot of pain that is going to be harder to cope with than the shame of “giving in.”

    The risk for Democrats isn’t in the *shame* of “giving in.” It’s in infuriating their base.

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans are paying attention to their respective bases in this fight. The risk is not evenly spread, however. There are more registered Democrats than there are Republicans, for one, and two, independents and those unaffiliated–at least at this point–are blaming the President for this fiasco (as well they should, this is ENTIRELY of his own making).

    I’m not understanding where you are coming from suggesting Democrats have “lost” on this issue. Thus far, the polling is all in their direction. That might change, but then again it might not.

    ReplyReply
  19. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    At what point will there be some awareness from Dems that they might have lost on this issue?

    “Freedom Caucus members tell Trump to back off wall emergency”
    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/11/freedom-caucus-border-emergency-trump-1096929

    James, again you are 100% correct. Trump fracturing the Republican party by declaring this a National Emergency would be an absolutely EPIC loss for the Democrats.

    ReplyReply
    11
  20. gVOR08 says:

    Fairly common to get caught in a line of traffic in the left lane of an expressway. Generally happens because the guy at the front is sitting there oblivious to everything, or doesn’t know it’s both illegal and very rude, or feels he’s got the same right to drive in the fast lane as anyone else. But I don’t blame the guy at the front of the line, I blame the guy behind him. The first guy is an idiot, you can’t expect any better of him. But the second guy could find a way to pass him or pressure him*. McConnell is the second guy in line.

    * Tailgating is bad, flashing lights sometimes works if done politely, sitting to the left as if to say, “I’d pass you if there was another lane here.” works surprisingly well.

    ReplyReply
  21. KM says:

    @@James Pearce:

    Trump is a gangster

    Oh, the hell he is.

    Look, I know you like kissing his ring and all but Trump hangs out with REAL gangsters and it’s not even close. Trump is a paper tiger, all bluff and no substance. A real gangster would have never let it get to this point, especially because Congress can circumvent his little “national emergency” scam EASILY by doing their damn jobs. What’s more, a gangster that screws over his crew like Trump’s doing is one that would be found it a dumpster shortly. He’s already got Senators, Freedom Caucus and FOX and Friends telling him not to do it because if it does, it’s going to cost them more then the Wall will gain them.

    If you think Trump’s a gangster, you have lead a truly sheltered life. He’s the school-yard bully who throws dirt and cheap shots but cries like a little bitch when someone finally smacks him one. I can see how you’d admire someone like that, though – it really fits with your whole worldview.

    ReplyReply
  22. Kathy says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump is a gangster, not a toddler. If you don’t pay the protection money,

    I don’t believe in making personal attacks. So I’ll say that this is the stupidest thing I’ve read here in a while (and considering the vocal Cheeto contingent, that is saying something).

    Yo do NOT pay protection money if you can beat back the thugs, or if the cops will do their job. If you do, you’re just setting yourself up to be shaken down again and again without end.

    There are no cops in this analogy, but, contrary to your bizarro assertion that winning the House represents a defeat for the Democrats, beating the thugs back isn’t impossible.

    Your fifth column act isn’t wearing thin, it’s already broken.

    ReplyReply
    15
  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    So don’t think of it as “giving in.”

    I’d call you a pussy…but that would insult pussies.
    Individual-1 isn’t a gangster…he’s the rube that gangsters prey on…and you’re a pussy who kisses the rubes ring.

    ReplyReply
  24. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: It’s Fredo all the way down.

    ReplyReply
  25. Gustopher says:

    If he declares a national emergency, perhaps some more people will come to realize that his presidency is a national emergency.

    If he’s going to try some kind of massive overreach against our democratic institutions, I’d rather it be over this idiotic wall that only a few Americans support and which will get bogged down in logistical issues.

    Wanna-be dictator gets smacked down because his power grab is stupid. There are worse outcomes. Particularly if it is followed by a Mueller report that then provides a killing blow while he’s weak, although we cannot count on that.

    I still wish he would just stroke out while taking a dump, and fall flat on his face drooling. And then live a long, incapacitated life.

    ReplyReply
  26. Jen says:

    I’m still failing to see Democratic culpability in this train wreck. Politico reports that Trump rejected a deal pulled together *exclusively by Republicans.*

    Or, as a piece on MSNBC put it:

    Of particular interest, though, is whom Graham negotiated with. In this case, the Republican South Carolinian worked on a deal with other Republicans, and Democrats were excluded from the process altogether. Despite the fact that Dems control the House, and many Democratic votes would be needed in the Senate, the party was “left out” of the talks and “were never read in” on the proposal.

    Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), arguably Congress’ most conservative Democrat, and a lawmaker who said he’s prepared to work on a possible compromise, wasn’t invited to the discussions.

    What we’re left with is a dynamic in which Republicans negotiated a deal with other Republicans, only to be shot down by a Republican president.

    Republicans really don’t understand how to govern.

    ReplyReply
  27. Teve says:
  28. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    You don’t call for law enforcement; you don’t arm yourself; you don’t do anything.

    You don’t really have much experience with gangsters, do you?

    @Jen:

    I’m not understanding where you are coming from suggesting Democrats have “lost” on this issue. Thus far, the polling is all in their direction.

    Polls again?

    A) Has the government re-opened?
    B) Has Trump pledged not to call a national emergency to fund his wall?
    C) Is immigration reform next on the Dem agenda?

    @KM:

    Trump is a paper tiger, all bluff and no substance.

    Summer of 2016 I thought so too. But by winter of 2019, I don’t think that anymore.

    @Kathy:

    I don’t believe in making personal attacks.

    Well that’s refreshing…

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I’d call you a pussy…but that would insult pussies.

    No, it would just be misogynist, kinda like when Michael was talking about my mom.

    ReplyReply
    1
    9
  29. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: I probably have had more experience with crime than you have, given your whining and willingness to plotz on your face and give up everything to a sad bluffer. I certainly have more balls.

    ReplyReply
    5
    1
  30. al Ameda says:

    At this juncture Trump has nothing to lose – the next round of elections is nearly 2 years away. Neither Trump nor McConnell, or Graham for that matter, have anything to lose with their intransigence or a threat to declare a phony National Emergency to build the wall.

    The National Emergency actually presents a future problem to Republicans, in that I’m not sure they would consider it kosher if a future Democratic president, after a Las Vegas style mass shooting, declared a National Emergency to confiscate automatic weapons?

    ReplyReply
  31. Scott F. says:

    @Kathy:

    Not for just you, Kathy, but for all others in the Comment community, it was suggested a while back to not reply to the trolls directly, but rather to talk about them in front of them. This strikes me as the right thing to do, especially after I tried to get a straight answer out of Pearce yesterday and got a similar shallow, inane response. He’s never going to engage you in an honest debate where he will recognize any counter argument especially those that debunk him using his own words. On his planet, he’s the only one that sees the world as it truly is and the rest just don’t get it.

    Between you and me, though, that gangster analogy is the weakest, wackiest yet. As you note, in this framing, the entire United States (except Trump, his base and perhaps for some “made” men in the GOP Senate) is the unprotected neighborhood shopkeeper who must fork over the dough or get dead.

    But even better, his argument from yesterday was that giving Trump his wall funding would TAKE AWAY the political advantage he now has with an extended shutdown. If you try to reconcile that argument with the gangster analogy, then the unprotected shopkeeper really WINS in the end, because not only is he not dead, but he’s shown the gangster wasn’t going to kill him anyway.

    The depth of incoherence boggles the mind.

    ReplyReply
  32. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. It looks like the “go fund me” project to “raise money for The Wall” is being run by one of the Right’s notorious grifters….

    I bet not one cent of the money this guy receives will actually end up going “towards The Wall”. Towards the guy’s bank account….

    The Trumpenproletariat are such marks…..

    ReplyReply
  33. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    He’s a gangster and gangster’s don’t worry about the damage they do.

    He’s not a gangster, he’s a petulant child. Neither worry about the damage they do to others, but the petulant child is unable to see the damage that they do to themselves.

    He’s angry and he’s frustrated because he wants to be the most powerful man on earth, but has discovered that the presidency is pretty limited. He’s furious because he never learned how to play well with others.

    I do think that we have to be careful balancing how much harm we do by opposing him vs. giving in, but there’s no negotiating with him. No clever solutions. No working together. Not until he learns to play with others.

    People joke that rather than playing 11th dimensional chess, he’s playing checkers, but really, he’s playing Calvin-Ball — changing the rules as he goes along, not honoring agreements because a pundit called him bad names. But, you can’t play Calvin-Ball.

    He could get his wall. He just has to offer Democrats something they want as much as he wants that wall, and sell that to the Republicans. It’s called making a deal. I’ve heard people call it an art.

    ReplyReply
  34. KM says:

    @al Ameda :

    The National Emergency actually presents a future problem to Republicans, in that I’m not sure they would consider it kosher if a future Democratic president, after a Las Vegas style mass shooting, declared a National Emergency to confiscate automatic weapons?

    Oh they totally wouldn’t. In fact, there’d be impeachment articles on the floor of the House 5 min after the announcement if the GOP controlled the House. IOKIYAR writ large.

    But here’s the thing: precedent’s a hell of a drug. Unless a court strikes down Trump’s logic HARD from the get-go, he will have established something courts of all stripes are intrinsically loath to move against. “Emergency” will now mean “whatever I feel like” instead of “imminent crisis”. Should it be struck down later after having been in effect for a time, all it teaches future Presidents is “make sure your logic can pass court muster”, not “do not do this cool thing”. Even if it would cost them dearly, it might be a way for a President to get movement on a issue that’s going in circles.

    Any Republican with a brain is telling Trump not to do it. FOX News is starting to turn against him on this. It’s not worth the Wall to them to give this tool to the Dems and watch them get what they want a lot faster – Wall: decade plus, Medicare for all: a few months if they planned it all out ahead of time. Too bad for them Trump’s getting invested in the idea and is willing to burn his party down then lose face…….

    ReplyReply
  35. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I certainly have more balls.

    Saying mean things to people on the internet from behind a pseudonym doesn’t mean you have balls.

    @al Ameda:

    if a future Democratic president, after a Las Vegas style mass shooting, declared a National Emergency to confiscate automatic weapons?

    Trump is already backing down from the “declare a National Emergency” talk. (PS. The next Dem president should declare a National Emergency on the next mass shooting.)

    @Scott F.:

    got a similar shallow, inane response.

    Oh god. You may have disagreed with it, but that was not a “shallow, inane response,” Scott.

    Between you and me, though, that gangster analogy is the weakest, wackiest yet

    Think what you want, but Trump reminds me of gangsters. Not just movie gangsters, but real-life ones too. You know who he reminds me of?

    A gangster from Indonesia named Herman Koto. He was featured in the film The Act of Killing and he’s absolutely ridiculous. When he’s mugging for the cameras in a mermaid costume, you might forget that he’s a cold-blooded killer.

    ReplyReply
  36. KM says:

    @Gustopher :

    He just has to offer Democrats something they want as much as he wants that wall, and sell that to the Republicans.

    Meh, what do we want that much that’s pressing? Things like universal health care can wait till 2020 when we nab the Senate and get the override if we don’t manage to toss his butt out. I’d only make that deal if it looked like we were going to go all 3 branches Repub again but the future’s looking pretty blue. We’re seeing red states purpling or going outright blue, redistricting is ending some safe red districts and frankly, people aren’t loving that Trump’s not giving them the conservative utopia they thought they’d get. SSM is still a thing, MeToo’s not going anywhere, income inequality is still eating rural America alive and no, coal’s not making a comeback.

    What do we want as much as Trump wants his Wall?

    ReplyReply
  37. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    I don’t disagree, and often I do just that. But sometimes one just has to.

    I wonder about someone who seriously believes winning 40 seats in the House is a defeat, or that knuckling under is the way to oppose a tyrant. the answer is that no one seriously believes this. But then I wonder about a mind who seriously believes these are good arguments in a discussion.

    ReplyReply
  38. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    He could get his wall. He just has to offer Democrats something they want as much as he wants that wall, and sell that to the Republicans.

    Like what?

    ReplyReply
  39. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    What do we want as much as Trump wants his Wall?

    Not his wall. A portion of his wall.

    Would you be willing to trade, say, $2.5 billion in wall funding for either:

    1) A clean DACA bill?
    2) El Cheeto’s resignation?

    ReplyReply
  40. Jen says:

    @KM: For the purposes of what is currently going on at the border, I think there are things Dems could ask for that would objectively improve the situation.

    There are clearly problems in several Central American countries that make people feel as though making a 2,000 mile journey on foot seem like a reasonable option. Waving my magic wand, what I’d like to see is:

    A considerable increase in the number of asylum judges, and sufficient resources to dramatically ramp up the review of asylum cases. Some of these people have legitimate asylum claims and it is unacceptable that they are being treated in this manner.

    A robust guest worker program. Many of the people who are coming into the country to work don’t even want to live here permanently–they want to come, earn money for 8 months, and then return home for 4, and then repeat the cycle. A reasonable guest worker program would reduce illegal immigration, force employers to stay above board, and allow taxes to be collected.

    Get a solution in place for the Dreamers. There has to be something that Republicans would sign on to for this–figure out what the tipping point is to get the most on board (phased approach, maybe?) and push for that.

    For movement on these, I’d be willing to acquiesce a few more miles of ultimately useless but expensive fencing. Why? Because they would actually start making headway with the problem, in a humane fashion.

    ReplyReply
  41. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    P.S. It looks like the “go fund me” project to “raise money for The Wall” is being run by one of the Right’s notorious grifters….

    Are you referring to the Iraq War vet’s grift or the President’s fund raising during the Oval Office address?

    ReplyReply
  42. James Pearce says:

    @Kathy:

    I wonder about someone who seriously believes winning 40 seats in the House is a defeat

    Who said it was a defeat? I said it wasn’t a “blue wave.” Trump was bolstered in the Senate and the House victory wasn’t that impressive considering it was achieved not by purpling battleground states but by making California even bluer. Beto and Abrams lost disappointing races too.

    And how do the Dems flex their muscles post-blue wave? By shutting down the government…

    ReplyReply
  43. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott F.: I applaud your sentiments, but think you aren’t reading far enough into motivations here. As a i mused in another thread:

    “Aha!”, Charlie Brown thinks to himself, “If I explain it clearly just one more time, Lucy will understand how she is holding the football incorrectly!”

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  44. KM says:

    @Kathy:

    Would you be willing to trade, say, $2.5 billion in wall funding for either:

    1) A clean DACA bill?

    No, simply because I’ve dealt with too many NPD and BPD personalities to trust Trump to not immediately turn on the deal once he’s gotten his way. Sure, it passes clean but how long before the Administration challenges it in court? How long before they do what they did to ACA and start stripping it out of essential pieces? Once that few miles of worthless fence go up, he’s “won” and it’s there still unless you bulldoze it. You ain’t getting the 2.5B or 5B back since it’s in some contractor’s *cough Trumpt cough* pocket. Meanwhile, your program is subject to the whims of a party that follows Trump’s insane lead – do you really think any deal we made via DACA-for-the-Wall wouldn’t start being sabotaged the second they got the funding?

    They’ve shown time and time again they are not willing to act in good faith. Why is everyone suddenly thinking that might change just because of the shutdown? No. No new deal for the shutdown. We already made a deal. Going back to the gangster imagery, we’re Micheal telling the Senator the offer is nothing. There’s nothing they’ll offer they won’t poison on the way out so why bother?

    ReplyReply
  45. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    All of that is perfectly reasonable, but no Republican politician would vote for it. Any of your points, not to mention all of them together, break the principle of “kick everyone out and don’t let anyone else in,” which is sacred to Trump’s base.

    ReplyReply
  46. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I prefer the philosophical Minbari version: “When one of us does a foolish thing, you should tell them it is a foolish thing. They can still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be.”

    ReplyReply
  47. Mikey says:

    @Scott F.:

    The depth of incoherence boggles the mind.

    You’re reading far too much into his motivations. He’s not here to make a coherent argument, he’s here for two separate but related things: generate FUD about the Democrats, and push the Trumpist line while pretending he’s not. That’s it, that’s as deep as it goes. So, if accomplishing those objectives means making mutually contradictory statements–even in the same comments thread–well, you can’t make mayo without breaking some eggs.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  48. PJ says:

    Let him. Then a Democrat can do the same for climate change (which is a real emergency.)

    ReplyReply
  49. charon says:

    @Gustopher:

    He could get his wall. He just has to offer Democrats something they want as much as he wants that wall, and sell that to the Republicans. It’s called making a deal. I’ve heard people call it an art.

    That can never happen, no deal possible. He is influenced by immigration hard liners like Stephen Miller, GOP Congresscritters etc who know the wall is ineffective, near useless, will not give up anything of value to get it. But the Dems really strongly oppose the wall, it would take a lot – way more than the GOP would ever give – to get the Dems to agree to a wall.

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  50. charon says:

    Trump does not value the wall for what it does, its value is as a symbol to keep his voters energized and supportive. He likes the applause from his voters, plus he thinks his voters pressure the GOP in Congress to keep protecting him from investigation and/or discipline.

    ReplyReply
  51. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Pearce: Only Republican white men expect a response to a slap in the face to be dragging yourself on the ground by the elbows saying “don’t hit me again daddy”. Everyone else expects a fist fight.

    Trump is a studio gangster–they’re gangsters until its time to do real gangster $h1t

    ReplyReply
  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher:

    I still wish he would just stroke out while taking a dump, and fall flat on his face drooling. And then live a long, incapacitated life.

    While I have to admit the vision does have some appeal, what makes you think that anyone in his family would call 911 when they could just ignore that they haven’t seen him for the last hour or so?

    ReplyReply
  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: The only thing I can think of is the one thing that the Senate, the Administration, and Trump himself are unwilling to give–a solution for the DACA/Dreamers. They turned down the whole $25 bil. on that earlier. If the Dems could get it for $5.2 now, that would be the steal of the new millennium.

    ReplyReply
  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Frankly, I’m in the same mind set as you on this. If JP were right this would still be the hill to die on because if, in fact, Trump can win on this eventually, there’s nothing left to save in the country except yourself. It would already be over with the left only catching up to the reality.

    ReplyReply
  55. Scott F. says:

    @Kathy:
    @MarkedMan:

    That’s the idea.

    With you, I can point out that it is INANE to have stated, as Pearce did yesterday, that if one was to compare the $2B over-spent on a VA hospital in Denver and the Democrats agreeing to appropriating $5.7B to prove that Trump’s wall will never be effective and perhaps never be built, it would give the proper “perspective” that the money involved in this shutdown is inconsequential and Trump should just be paid. In a proper argument with a honest debater based on logic and reason, I could point out that Denver actually now has a VA hospital to show for their $2B while the Democrats, and the American people on whose behalf they fund the government, would get for their $5.7B… wait for it… a “crown of shame” to hang on the most unshameable person in the history of history. I could make that case with either of you (and most others here) and the “truth is where it needs to be.”

    I don’t need to reply to Pearce to show that if instead, as he does earlier in this thread, I just stated “My arguments aren’t bad, we just disagree” then I would be making the very definition of a SHALLOW response to the points being raised.

    I’m not trying to win Pearce over or come to understand his motivations. But, as Kathy says, sometimes the horseshit can’t be allowed to just sit there without someone pointing out where the stink is coming from.

    ReplyReply
    5
    1
  56. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..When has Pud said he would end the government shutdown when he declares a national emergency?(Friday, January 11, 2019 at 12:20)

    White House warns shutdown could carry on after emergency declaration
    (Politico January 11, 2019 at 6:55)

    ReplyReply
  57. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I suspect the President does not have a whole lot of privacy, for security reasons.

    Also, I’m wearing a device on my wrist, purchased for a few hundred dollars at retail, that can detect sudden heart rate spikes or drops, some irregular heart rhythms, and if I have fallen. Plus it tells time, relays text messages to vibrations, etc. I would assume that since we consider the life of the President valuable, that he has something similar to an Apple Watch, and that there are people who will be alerted, and will gently knock on the door to ask “Mr. President, are you alright?”

    ReplyReply
  58. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: who says the offer has to be related to immigration at all?

    $5.6B for The Wall
    $11.2B to double the size and impact of Head Start — with enough rigor to verify impact for higher income and rural vs. urban kids.

    I don’t think they would get anything significant done for The Wall with that, a photo op mostly, but it would make a huge difference in kids lives. I’d be tempted.

    There would be a lot to hammer out, so a 30 day clean CR, with this deal on the table, longer budget CR only after the deal is law.

    There are lots of other alternatives.

    ReplyReply
  59. JohnMcC says:

    @Gustopher: Your remarks about the Apple “watch” brought this memory back:
    http://www.ibtimes.com/fit-bit-reveals-woman‘s-time-of-death-leads-90-year-old

    @Scott F.: You and I are in agreement that “I don’t need to reply to *****…” to show how stupid arguments can bait someone into saying to themselves that THIS TIME I’ll make him admit… whatever…

    The way to stop being baited is just to stop being baited. (Something I have to tell myself pretty often.)

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  60. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnMcC: Well DARN! I see the link is to newsmax which is cast into eternal darkness, I guess, because my virus detector has revoked them or something. The story is easy to find.

    I would not have revealed my digital inadequacy if there was a working ‘PREVIEW’ like you guys had in the good ol’ days.

    Hello! PREVIEW!

    ReplyReply
  61. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Trump is a studio gangster–they’re gangsters until its time to do real gangster $h1t

    Remember when Trump’s buddy whacked that dude and the Trump administration was like, nothing to see here? Yeah, that was some studio gangster shit….

    ReplyReply
    1
    4
  62. James Pearce says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The way to stop being baited is just to stop being baited.

    It should be easy for most of you to avoid “being baited” by one dude. Try to avoid it when you got a half-dozen people whispering your name and just showing up with the intention of outdo all the other insults.

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: not me, but I’m not sure that twice as much for something else will resonate with the Democratic base.

    Overall, I still think that this may be the hill to die/try to kill the GOP on.

    ReplyReply
  64. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Pearce: Tupac’s [actual gangster] buddies also whacked alot of dudes–how did that work out for Tupac?

    Try again Stoner

    ReplyReply
  65. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Tupac’s [actual gangster] buddies also whacked alot of dudes–how did that work out for Tupac?

    Tupac didn’t have “actual” gangster buddies, dude…

    ReplyReply
  66. An Interested Party says:

    And how do the Dems flex their muscles post-blue wave? By shutting down the government…

    The Democrats are not the ones responsible for shutting down the government…as someone mentioned, Republicans in Congress put together something with no Democratic involvement and President Pissy Pants rejected that…he is responsible for the government shutdown…

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*