Is the government going to shut down on Friday? Congress has yet to pass a continuing resolution to keep it funded and open, so maybe.
At a pool spray just before a Cabinet meeting Wednesday morning, a reporter asked President Donald Trump about the chances of a shutdown. He responded:
“It could happen. The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country. They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants — in many cases, people that we don't want in our country. They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime. We don't want to have that. We want to have a great, beautiful, crime-free country. And we want people coming into our country, but we want them to come on our basis. And that's why we're being so careful with our process and our screening.”
Democrats would like the president and the Republican majority to agree on a permanent fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is a far cry from advocating for hordes of undocumented immigrants overrunning the border. But I digress.
What is important here is that Trump is making the same mistake he made last week when he blasted Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi on Twitter, which resulted in the two Democratic leaders canceling a meeting to discuss a deal.
The meeting was then rescheduled for this week. So ahead of it, Trump is blasting Democratic leadership again by badly misrepresenting its position on this issue and implying that the party wants America to be a hellhole overrun by crime-happy immigrants.
This is not a good-faith position from which to bargain.
No one seems to have explained to Trump, or else he is not listening, that Democrats have the leverage in these negotiations. Although Republicans have majorities in both chambers, they need Democratic votes to pass a continuing resolution. But if they can't pass it and the government shuts down, will the public blame Democrats for being unreasonable?
No. The public will look at the Republicans and ask why, with control of Congress and the White House, the party can't do the bare minimum of its job and keep the Social Security checks flowing. Voters will not care about subtleties such as “The House Freedom Caucus refuses to vote for a continuing resolution without major spending cuts” or “The CR needs 60 votes in the Senate, which means a few Democrats have to be on board.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan likely know this and are likely quietly reaching out to Democrats for the actual hard work of negotiations. But the president still has to sign off on any deal, and he keeps making it harder and harder for his own side to get one to his desk.
Watch the entire video below.