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Trump & GOP Are Wall Hypocrites

I’m more in favor of some kind of border wall, or barrier, than I am opposed to it, but here’s the thing: Trump and the Congressional Republicans have shut down the government over an issue that they didn’t do jack on for the two years the GOP controlled both houses of Congress, and, of course, the White House.

If Trump declares a national emergency to bypass Congress to get the money for the wall, he will be wrong, and his own party should stand up to him. But I don’t want to hear too much caterwauling from Democrats, who went along with it when President Obama pulled a similar move for DACA.

Still, Trump and his party stand on very weak ground. Philip Klein, writing in the Washington Examiner immediately after the president’s televised address, underscores the point: [1]

We heard a lot tonight about illegal immigrants committing crimes and about the necessity of locking down the border. But that’s a case that he’s basically been making since he launched his presidential campaign three and a half years ago.

He’s been president for nearly two years, and up until last week, Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. At any point during that two years, Republicans could have passed a bill to fund the border wall, and he could have gotten at least $5.6 billion.

Republicans were ready to use the reconciliation process, allowing the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority, to repeal and replace Obamacare. They successfully used the procedure to pass a massive tax cut. They certainly could have found a way to use it to put some money into building a border wall had Trump actually fought for it earlier in his administration.

In 2017, Trump had just won the presidency and building a wall was a significant part of his platform. At the time, he had significant political capital among Republicans, who would have been reticent to defy him on such a central issue.

Instead, he waited until now to make a firm stand, at a time when his party just lost control of the House and he has zero leverage over Democrats, whose base expects maximum resistance.

National Review, opposing an emergency declaration for wall construction, is right: [2]

Legalities aside, this would be a very bad practice. It’s an offense against the spirit of our system for a president to fail to get he wants from Congress — in a dispute involving a core congressional power, spending — and then turn around and exploit a tenuous reading of the law to try to get it anyway.

We know this seems increasingly quaint, especially after President Obama’s pen-and-phone governance in his second term, but we believe presidents have an obligation to honor the role of the respective branches of government, even when it’s not in their political interest, even when there seems to be a clever workaround.

This has to stop. It’s bad enough that the Republicans are going along with the government shutdown over an issue that neither they nor Trump dealt with when they had the power to do. The fact that the Congressional Republicans aren’t drawing a bright line on a matter of principle right now is even worse.

Again: I would rather see a wall of some sort, at least on much of the US-Mexico border, than not, as part of a broader overhaul that changes asylum laws. The status quo is not tenable. But the Republicans and the Republican president could have done whatever they wanted for the past two years about the border barrier. They did not. For this they’ve now shut down the government? I think about all those federal workers who are living paycheck to paycheck, and are now hurting because Trump realized that he was on the verge of his base figuring out that he never really cared about the wall in the first place.

UPDATE: Here’s a comment from reader DS, whom I know personally, and who is a conservative Evangelical:

It’s just like abortion — George W Bush talked a good game, but did nothing while his party controlled Congress and the executive branch.

Rile the base and do nothing … until nothing can be done, then pretend to be thwarted by the evil opposition.

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155 Comments To "Trump & GOP Are Wall Hypocrites"

#1 Comment By Noah172 On January 15, 2019 @ 7:21 pm

JeffK:

If there were no allegations of impropriety at Trump’s businesses — if Trump did not exist at all — we would still have the same immigration debate. Do you dismiss climate change because Al Gore burns a lot of energy at his mansion and on his air travel? Do you dismiss the issues of sexual harassment and assault because some prominent liberal, feminist-supporting men have been caught as abusers? I bet you don’t. You are not asking questions in good faith. The immigration issue existed before Trump and will continue after him.

We don’t know how much personal knowledge or input Trump had on lower-level employees at his properties, versus middle managers. Another thing: some firms have been sued over requiring “excessive” documentation from non-citizen employees for the I-9 form. Other firms have been sued over refusing to hire people who get “no-match” letters after the employer ran the social security number. Businesses have been punished for trying to do the right thing. Not like you care.

#2 Comment By Noah172 On January 15, 2019 @ 7:36 pm

JonF wrote:

DACA amnesty could be written to disallow chain migration by such connections

The Democrats don’t want that. They rejected all of Trump’s offers including that.

Half loaves are better than none at all

Immigration is the issue that affects all the other issues. Immigration decides who the future citizens will be. Amnesty and mass legal immigration create permanent alterations to the composition of our citizenry. You want Trump and his supporters to give that up for promises of a little money here or there, which can be cancelled by the next Democratic government. On immigration, no deal is better than a permanent bad deal.

Also, you ignore history: The pro-immigration forces lied and cheated in and after 1965, 1986, 1990, and every immigration debate since (e.g., suing Trump over the travel ban when Obama put a ban on many of the same countries).

#3 Comment By JonF On January 16, 2019 @ 7:27 am

Noah, you know where I stand on immigration. I’m not remotely an open borders type, and I believe strongly that better, rigorous even, workplace enforcement is the key. I do not however rank it as Most Important Issue. In fact I see it as a symptom of deeper troubles.
There are compromises available here and I do condemn “my way or the highway” politics.

#4 Comment By cdugga On January 16, 2019 @ 12:05 pm

A survey of comments appears to show that the majority believe that the don and the majority trump party congress, formally known as the GOP, would not have been able to get the votes needed while they held that majority. That simply proves that holding government workers hostage is the only trump party strategy they believe is capable of getting the wall, and proves who has shut down the government and why. Like, we do not even need to mention that the don himself said he would own the shutdown, for years if necessary. Everyone knows who is responsible. However, nobody is saying what I really believe. Whoever caves, wins politically. I suspect the don will figure that out first. From the bully pulpit he will be able to proclaim that in order to stem the crisis of the government shutdown, and save public workers, he is willing to be the bigger man and defer wall funding for later. The dems are too stoopit to ever figure that one out.

#5 Comment By JeffK On January 16, 2019 @ 4:25 pm

@Noah172 says:
January 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm

I dismiss none of what you say regarding Al Gore, climate change, and sexual harassment by liberals. Those are real issues.

What I won’t dismiss is Trump’s demagoguery of illegal immigration. What he says, and how he says it. Trump does not want a solution. He wants a stupid, expensive, ineffective wall that he can point to and say “There’s MY wall! Now re-elect me (so I can stay out of jail)”.

And he must be a total idiot + 50% to not know that his private cook and maid are both illegal immigrants. I think he is a total idiot, but I also think he fully understands that he, and his companies, employ hundreds, if not thousands, of undocumented employees.

Regarding my stance on illegal immigration. I have stated the following on TAC repeatedly. We absolutely need more of the right type of immigrants (to support social security, which I hope to collect in about 5 years). And we absolutely need more low skilled immigrants to do the farm labor nobody in the US will do. And we absolutely do not need Trump’s stupid vanity project wall if we fix E-verify and force executives at companies to use it, with the threat of JAIL TIME for noncompliance.

But Trump seems to want none of this. Just his stupid f’n wall. Which will never get built.