“We Are Getting Crushed”

Ken AshfordGubmint Shutdown, Immigration and Xenophobia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Maggie Halberman writes in the NY Times about the pressures inside the White House:

President Trump has insisted that he is not going to compromise with Democrats to end the government shutdown, and that he is comfortable in his unbendable position. But privately, it’s sometimes a different story.

“We are getting crushed!” Mr. Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, after watching some recent coverage of the shutdown, according to one person familiar with the conversation. “Why can’t we get a deal?”

And here is where Mr. Art-Of-The-Deal is discovering that having the reputation of a deal-maker is not enough to actually, you know, make deals. You have to actually do the thing. Trump doesn’t do the thing. He never has. He comes to agreements and then stiffs the other side. It’s all a part of business.

But this isn’t business; this is politics. And Pelosi knows how to play politics. Trump clearly doesn’t and that was obvious (if it wasn’t obvious before) when he said he would “own the shutdown”. Well, he does.

In addition to several polls earlier this week, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds Trump’s approval rating down and his disapproval rating up from a month ago. He currently stands at 39 percent approve, 53 disapprove — a 7-point net change from December when his rating was 42 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.

And what’s bad for Trump is that the movement has come from within key portions of his base. He is down significantly among suburban men, a net-positive approval rating of 51-to-39 percent to a net-negative of 42 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove. That’s a net change of down 18 percentage points.

He’s down a net of 13 points among white evangelicals, from 73-to-17 percent approve to 66-to-23 percent approve; down a net of 10 points among Republicans,from 90-to-7 percent approve to 83-to-10 percent; down marginally among white men without a college degree, from 56-to-34 percent approve to 50-to-35 percent approve, a net change downward of 7 points.

Trump has been prone to morning tweetstorms, but there were only 2 tweets yesterday morning (and none for the rest of the day), and only one this morning….

… although it is still only 10:00.

Back to the Times article:

Mr. Trump has told [his top aides] he believes over time the country will not remember the shutdown, but it will remember that he staged a fight over his insistence that the southern border be protected. He wants Democrats to come back to the table agreeing with his position on a wall, and he does not understand why they have not.

But despite his public bravado, and the tweets about “Radical Democrats,” Mr. Trump has had recurring moments of frustration as he takes in negative news coverage of the shutdown, pointing his finger at aides for not delivering the deal he wants. Yet the aides say that the president believes he is still playing a strong hand and that any moments of frustration have been fleeting.

Very Trumpian. He is delusional in thinking his strategy is working; yet he blames his aides for it not working.

To be sure, he is in a squeeze. He’s getting pressure from his favorite guru, Ann Coulter:

Coulter was accused in December of playing a role in the shutdown after she and other high-profile pundits lambasted the president for appearing to concede on funding the wall. In the week leading up to the shutdown, the White House briefly showed support for a stopgap spending measure that would have kept the government open until early February. This caused conservative talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” to speak out against the president and say he was “getting ready to cave.”

At the time, Coulter said during a podcast on the Daily Caller that not building a wall would be an indelible stain on Trump’s presidency and would cause her not to vote for the president in 2020.

“It’ll just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people,” she said at the time. “. . . he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.”

How can Trump read/hear that, and feel like he can compromise? So he just plants himself for another day.

Day 27. 800,000 federal workers are looking at not receiving a second paycheck. A government shutdown that most Americans oppose, on behalf of a border wall that most Americans oppose, may be the logical endpoint for a president and a political party that appears more and more unconcerned about attracting support from a majority of the public.

P.S. Trump’s companies brought in more ramped up its foreign worker visas to a 10 year high in 2018.