President Trump has put the Democrats on the ropes by reminding the American people that they are all that stands in the way of effective border security.
Ahead of a Wednesday meeting with congressional leaders to discuss the partial government shutdown that is dragging on amidst Democrats’ refusal to appropriate funding for a border wall, the President made clear that he will not sacrifice border security for a government funding deal that maintains the broken status quo on immigration enforcement.
To hammer that point home, the meeting included a briefing by Department of Homeland Security officials so they could tell recalcitrant Democrats based on firsthand experience how vital a wall is to our efforts to ensure border security.
While the House passed legislation that provides the roughly $5 billion President Trump has requested for the wall, the effort has stalled in the Senate, where the 60-vote threshold required for a floor vote allows the minority Democrats to exercise a sort of de facto veto power.
The Democrats’ leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is hoping that the President will back down out of fear that the partial government shutdown will hurt Republicans politically, but Donald Trump isn’t letting that distract him from the core issue of securing America’s borders.
“Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built,” he tweeted Wednesday morning. “We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!”
The President also mused that a border security impasse is probably not the way that incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to begin her tenure, offering to “make a deal” that could potentially include new protections for “Dreamers.”
The Democrats, however, have signalled that they also intend to hold their ground, pledging to pass funding bills in the House that do not include funding for the border wall and daring Senate Republicans to oppose them.
Their plan will almost certainly backfire, because while the partial shutdown will ultimately prove harmless, the Democrats are taking a principled stand against the very idea of securing America’s borders. The 2016 election proved that while voters have a relatively high tolerance for government shutdowns, they are adamant about the need to protect our borders — Donald Trump won the presidency on a platform that focused heavily on enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, despite the fact that Republicans were widely blamed for a 16-day government shutdown during President Obama’s second term.
President Trump has been quick to remind wavering Republicans that the political calculus favors them in the current showdown. As he pointed out on New Year’s Day, “without a Wall there can be no real Border Security — and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!”
The President is obviously correct: the current situation is a national security and humanitarian crisis that cannot be ignored.
The Democrats may like to talk about supporting border security in vague terms, but when the time comes to take action to solve America’s illegal immigration problem, they show their true obstructionist stripes by shooting down any idea that might actually prove effective.
It’s one thing to oppose the President for political reasons, as the Democrats have done ever since Donald Trump took office, but it’s something else entirely for them to tell the men and women tasked with securing America’s borders that they will not give them the resources they need to do that job effectively.
Perhaps, like an exhausted boxer backed into the ropes, the Democrats simply have no more room to back up, and can only await the inevitable knockout punch from President Trump.
Harlan Hill is a political advisor, media commentator, and an advisory board member of the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.