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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "wall"

“Fox & Friends”: Trump never should have said that Mexico will pay for the wall

Westlake Legal Group a-2 “Fox & Friends”: Trump never should have said that Mexico will pay for the wall wall Trump The Blog Pay Mexico kilmeade Fox & Friends doocy border

Via the Daily Beast, a clip that’s surprising in lots of ways — starting with the fact that F&F is famously one of the most pro-Trump shows on Fox. This isn’t Shep’s midday Hour of Glower. This is the program that used to have Citizen Trump call in every week before he became a candidate and riff for 45 minutes on the news du jour.

It’s surprising in that the subject matter is bad for POTUS no matter how happy a spin the hosts might try to put on it. “School construction among projects being cut to pay for Trump’s border wall” is a poisonous headline even when it comes with the footnote that the Pentagon plans to fund those projects eventually. Ainsley Earhardt does her best in the clip to bail Trump out, noting that if House Democrats are so bothered by military schools not being funded they can just pony up the dough to do so. But that would be tantamount to funding the wall directly: If Trump reprograms X number of defense dollars for the wall and Dems then replace that money in the defense budget, they’ve effectively cut Trump a check for the wall itself with the Pentagon as a middleman. They’d have rewarded him for his hardball tactic of reappropriating money for the wall unilaterally on national-emergency grounds over Democratic objections.

It’s surprising too that Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy are so skeptical of the “Mexico will pay for it” nonsense given that, at last check, it remains Trump’s official position. He’s spent two years backing away from the idea of the president of Mexico presenting him with a six-foot-long sweepstakes check for $25 billion or whatever, but his desperation to be seen as having kept a core promise to fans has led him to claim that Mexico will pay for the wall — either through fairer trade via the USMCA, through taxes on remittances, or what have you. To have “Fox & Friends,” of all shows, openly scoffing at the idea in front of an audience of Trump fans is shocking. The president hasn’t given friendly media permission to tell the truth about this!

Maybe most surprising is that Fox hosts who usually enjoy his favor are willing to risk his wrath at a moment when tensions between Trump and the network are higher than they’ve been since the start of the GOP primary debates in 2015. It was Kilmeade, in fact, who pressed Trump about that in a radio interview last week, asking him why he had a problem with Fox airing diverse viewpoints. Trump dodged the question and Kilmeade didn’t pursue it, but if F&F is now willing to call BS on the idea of Mexico paying for the wall, maybe the word has gone out to Fox hosts that they have a freer hand than they used to in questioning Trump dogma. For the moment, I mean: It’ll be high treason for them to reiterate this point on air a year from now, when the political stakes will be as high as they can get.

The post “Fox & Friends”: Trump never should have said that Mexico will pay for the wall appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history

Westlake Legal Group t-10 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

These results don’t tell us which side’s policies the public favors as a solution to the immigration crisis, merely that they recognize that there is a crisis.

But since one party’s presidential nominee wants to throw everything he’s got at closing the border, from a wall to asylum reform to new “safe third country” agreements with neighbors, and the other party’s leading voices seem to want to open the border to such an insane degree that even liberal pundits have begun scratching their heads, I’m guessing this boils down to “Advantage: Trump.”

For now. If the crisis were to persist another 15 months, good luck to POTUS arguing that he should get another four years to try to handle an emergency which he couldn’t handle in two.

Westlake Legal Group 2-4 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

The parties aren’t equal in their concern, with 42 percent of Republicans saying immigration is the country’s most important problem versus 20 percent each of Democrats and indies. But (a) immigration worries among Republicans are destined to bind some Trump-wary righties to him who might have otherwise considered voting Democrat next year and (b) getting 20 percent of the opposition to say this is the country’s top priority is no small thing, especially given the short shrift the issue has gotten in the Democratic presidential primaries relative to health care, taxing the rich, and, ah, busing.

Here’s the partisan difference in a nutshell. Trump this morning…

…versus Ilhan Omar last night:

Congrats to the congresswoman on somehow shoehorning open borders, universal health care, and abortion into the same tweet. I bet AOC could have worked climate change into it too, though.

NPR also polled recently on this issue, asking whether the public thinks various immigration positions which Dem candidates have endorsed are good ideas or bad ones. Decriminalizing border crossings pulled a 27/66 good/bad rating, with even Democratic adults underwater at 45/47. Instituting a national health insurance program to cover illegals polled better with Dems but not much better with Americans overall, landing at 33/62. That’s the good news for Trump, that most Americans agree that some of the left’s favorite ideas on immigration are bananas. The bad news is that various other Democratic proposals unrelated to immigration polled much better in NPR’s survey: From a public option for health insurance to a pathway to citizenship for illegals to, ugh, the Green New Deal, majorities are in favor of all — although NPR conveniently didn’t mention the price tag that each program would carry.

We might deduce from that that so long as the national conversation stays focused on immigration, Trump is more likely to win reelection. The more it strays from immigration, the less likely. Although…

Westlake Legal Group 4 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

And:

Westlake Legal Group 8 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

Again, how good does Trump look on immigration next year if the crisis continues and he’s proved himself seemingly powerless to stop it? Especially bearing in mind that the Dem nominee will likely tack towards the center on the issue next year.

The post Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history appeared first on Hot Air.

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Senate GOP warns White House: We have a veto-proof majority to block Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico

Westlake Legal Group t-1 Senate GOP warns White House: We have a veto-proof majority to block Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico white house wall votes Trump The Blog Tariffs Senate republican Mexico emergency cruz border

Meh, I’m sticking with my skepticism from this morning. I’ll believe this when I see it and not a moment sooner.

If it does happen, it’s because Trump finally stumbled across a protectionist policy so destructive that his party is momentarily more scared of swing voters than they are of Trump’s base. Even Ted Cruz is showing some spine, notes the Times, improbably.

What Republicans are doing here, I suspect, is playing chicken with him before the new tariffs have taken effect, when there’s still time for him to swerve by reaching an accommodation with Mexico. E.g., “Save face by pulling the plug or we’ll humiliate you by doing it ourselves.” If he calls their bluff, they’ll get close-ish to 67 votes. But not quite all the way there.

[Senate Republicans] emerged from a closed-door lunch in the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel, Patrick F. Philbin, and Assistant Attorney General Steven A. Engel on the legal basis for imposing new tariffs by declaring a national emergency.

“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, told the attorneys, according to people familiar with the meeting. “You didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax hike on Texans

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said he warned the lawyers that the Senate could muster an overwhelming majority to beat back the tariffs, even if Mr. Trump were to veto a resolution disapproving them.

“We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” said the other senator from Texas, John Cornyn. If Trump goes ahead with this plan and Texans take a massive economic hit, I wonder if Beto O’Rourke won’t pull the ripcord on his stalled presidential campaign and decide it’s worth taking a second shot at the Senate back home after all.

McConnell hinted to Trump at a press after today’s lunch that it’s time to make a deal with Mexico to avert a crisis:

Mitt Romney also said he thought it was “likely” that the two sides would reach a deal before the tariffs took effect next week, per the Times. Even some friendlier faces in the caucus, like Kevin Cramer, took to warning Trump not to call the Senate’s bluff this time:

“I sure do,” Sen Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said when asked whether he thought there would be at least 20 Republican votes to reject Trump’s tariffs on Mexico — which would constitute a veto-proof margin in combination with Democratic opposition. “I think in light of every ball that’s up in the air whether it’s USMCA, China … in light of all of that stuff and in light of all of that tariff activity which threatens to stifle the tremendous economic growth we now get to take credit for, particularly in the down commodity cycle with agriculture, there’s just a weariness of tariffs as the only tool in the tool kit that gets used.”

The business lobby is also leaning heavily on Congress to stand firm against this Trump on this, naturally. Practically the only support Trump’s getting in the caucus is coming from that noted protectionist border hawk … Marco Rubio:

There may, I suppose, be 67 votes *at the moment* to block Trump’s tariffs, but give Trumpist media and hardcore restrictionists a few days to threaten Senate Republicans with accusations that they’re “economic traitors,” pro-amnesty, etc, unless they support Trump’s gun-to-our-own-heads strategy. By next Monday it’ll be 65, tops. Maybe not even that.

Here’s Trump crony Rand Paul, who in fairness did have the courage of convictions in voting to block the president’s border emergency in March, warning him not to go forward with the new tariffs. If Republicans really want to make Trump squirm, they should tell him that his decision to proceed will leave no choice but to revoke all of his “national security” tariff authority — not just in this matter with Mexico but globally. I think he’d rather be impeached than lose the power to wage unilateral trade war.

The post Senate GOP warns White House: We have a veto-proof majority to block Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico appeared first on Hot Air.

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Crisis: Border arrests top 100,000 for second straight month, highest since 2007

Westlake Legal Group crisis-border-arrests-top-100000-for-second-straight-month-highest-since-2007 Crisis: Border arrests top 100,000 for second straight month, highest since 2007 wall Trump The Blog release immigration democrats catch border patrol border asylum

Westlake Legal Group b Crisis: Border arrests top 100,000 for second straight month, highest since 2007 wall Trump The Blog release immigration democrats catch border patrol border asylum

You can’t appreciate how bad the situation is unless you read deep into this story, past the first few paragraphs. Don’t stop until you get to the part where the acting head of DHS starts describing the number of Guatemalans arriving in the U.S. as a percentage of the country’s total population.

The silver lining for border hawks, I guess, is that Trump’s legal case that there’s a national emergency at the border that requires reappropriating Pentagon money to build a wall gets stronger by the day. The gray cloud is that a wall won’t turn back all of this tide. “The migrant families who cross the border appear to know that they have a relatively easy path to release into the United States,” notes WaPo drily — namely, by surrendering to the Border Patrol, asking for asylum, and counting on the strain on the system to guarantee their release into the United States.

The chief of the Border Patrol, in fact, is now openly contemplating losing control of the border entirely.

“Our apprehension numbers are off the charts,” Carla Provost, chief of the Border Patrol, said in testimony to senators in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. “We cannot address this crisis by shifting more resources. It’s like holding a bucket under a faucet. It doesn’t matter how many buckets we have if we can’t turn off the flow.”

“My greatest concern is that we will no longer be able to deliver consequences and we will lose control of the border,” Provost said…

DHS officials already have declared a “breaking point” for U.S. border agents and infrastructure, with court rulings and a crunch of detention space forcing them to release the vast majority of migrant family members and children into the interior of the United States. Border officials view single adult migrants as the one remaining demographic they can deter by “applying consequences.”

“If we were forced to release single adults, our prediction is you would see a draw or a flow that we’ve never seen before in our history,” the DHS official said.

The crush at the border is self-reinforcing, in other words: As word gets back to Central America that many immigrants aren’t being detained, those considering making the trip have that much more incentive to follow through. More than 109,000 arrests were made last month, a six percent increase from March, although some officials think the numbers could go as high as 150,000 per month this summer. WaPo notes that the Border Patrol made 5,000 arrests this past Saturday alone, the highest single-day number in several years. If the forecasts are right about 150,000 per month, they’ll be doing that daily soon.

South Bend, Indiana, which is governed by a semi-credible Democratic presidential candidate, has a population of about 100,000. We’re absorbing the equivalent of a South Bend from Central America every single month.

The new arrivals aren’t all trickling in individually either. To the contrary, WaPo notes that “Border Patrol has taken in 135 large groups consisting of 100 or more migrants in the past seven months, 10 times the total during all of 2018.” It’s families, not just young men looking for work, who are arriving and forcing DHS to shuffle resources. More beds being occupied by families means fewer beds for single adults, raising the possibility of the nightmare scenario in the excerpt in which even singles go free. (Per CNN, 168,000 family members have been released since December alone.) ICE has been forced to pull agents away from their regular beats to help assist with the border crunch, with the result a 14 percent decline in arrests of illegals with criminal records.

Trump’s going to get some more money for the border from Congress soon — even the NYT is nudging Pelosi to make it happen — but needless to say, there won’t be any grand compromise on tightening asylum procedures. (If that happens, it’ll be unilateral action by Trump that does it.) I think Democrats see this issue as a political winner for them: Because every president tends to bear the blame for policy failures during his term, Pelosi’s likely betting that most voters will view this immigration crush as Trump’s failure rather than as a failure of Democrats to cooperate on beefing up enforcement, particularly since “stronger borders!” was a core part of Trump’s 2016 message. Case in point:

Even if Pelosi wanted to compromise, though, the left probably wouldn’t allow it. They see porous borders as desirable; if the Border Patrol’s fears of a total breakdown in control of the border were realized, so much the better. Radicalization of the right on border enforcement in response to the radicalization of the left is inevitable if something doesn’t change. Pelosi’s a fool for thinking short-term when she should be thinking long.

The post Crisis: Border arrests top 100,000 for second straight month, highest since 2007 appeared first on Hot Air.

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WATCH: Fox News Interview With Border Patrol Agent Interrupted by Illegal Aliens Crossing Border

Westlake Legal Group watch-fox-news-interview-with-border-patrol-agent-interrupted-by-illegal-aliens-crossing-border WATCH: Fox News Interview With Border Patrol Agent Interrupted by Illegal Aliens Crossing Border wall Trump Politics Mexico jim acosta Illegal Immigration Honduras Guatemala Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Drug Cartels democrats CNN CBP border patrol

Well, this is awkward, at least for CNN’s Jim Acosta.

This morning, Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo was conducting a live interview from the southern border in El Paso, TX. As a Border Patrol agent was explaining how illegal aliens normally run across and turn themselves in, they were interrupted by a group doing just that.

This is what happened, per Townhall.

Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo conducted a special episode of “Sunday Morning Features” at the United States-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. During her interview, Bartiromo spoke with Border Patrol officers to talk about the crisis taking place on America’s southern border. While speaking with a few of the agents about the dried up Rio Grande River, multiple illegal aliens crossed the ravine and stepped right into the United States.

According to the Border Patrol agent, those crossing the border like this look for an agent and willingly turn themselves in. The reason? They’re giving a piece of paper and are sent northbound further into the United States.

This is the idiocy of saying a wall won’t help. If there was a wall here, these people would have never been able to run across and turn themselves in, which is a tactic being used to abuse the asylum process. Given that each CBP agent can’t legally adjudicate each case (for obvious reasons) as they come across, they are given paperwork and disappear into the interior. It’s a system that’s being knowingly gamed every day. With a barrier, word would get out that it’s no longer possible to do that and the number of migrants would dwindle.

If there was a barrier, it would help deter from making the journey in the first place. Instead, they know they can simply run across the border and once across they can, usually falsely, claim asylum. People are trained in countries like Honduras, Guatemala, etc. on exactly what to say and do. Meanwhile, the drug cartels are making billions of dollars trafficking these people to the border.

It’s a dangerous, immoral situation where people, including children, routinely get sick and even die along the way simply to enrich drug lords. Sexual assault is through the roof as well all because the United States does nothing to stop the draw that’s currently bringing them. Barriers, faster processing, and asylum reform would actually save lives in the end but our politicians are too cowardly or too invested illegal immigration to act.

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The post WATCH: Fox News Interview With Border Patrol Agent Interrupted by Illegal Aliens Crossing Border appeared first on RedState.

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Coulter: Let’s face it, this border crisis wouldn’t be as bad under a Democratic president

Westlake Legal Group coulter-lets-face-it-this-border-crisis-wouldnt-be-as-bad-under-a-democratic-president Coulter: Let’s face it, this border crisis wouldn’t be as bad under a Democratic president wall Trump The Blog immigration hoover firing line crisis border asylum Ann Coulter

Westlake Legal Group c-5 Coulter: Let’s face it, this border crisis wouldn’t be as bad under a Democratic president wall Trump The Blog immigration hoover firing line crisis border asylum Ann Coulter

Man, she really wants to vote for a Democrat next year, doesn’t she?

To think, after all that garbage about a Flight 93 election in 2016, it turns out that electing Hillary would have been the “storm the cockpit” option at the border.

She’s overstating her case in the clip below to get under Trump’s and his fans’ skin but a few realities are undeniable:

1. Trump will lie and lie about progress at the border (and everything else) and his more cultish fans will believe anything he says. A Democrat “couldn’t just tweet something out and have everybody say ‘yay,’” an annoyed Coulter notes at one point in the video. For months she’s tweeted sarcastically to counter Trump’s border reassurances. “NUMBER OF MILES OF WALL BUILT ON OUR SOUTHERN BORDER SINCE TRUMP HAS BEEN PRESIDENT: ZERO,” she wrote in a column last month titled “Trump By The Numbers.” There’s not a shred of doubt that a Democratic president presiding over the crush of phony asylum seekers Trump is coping with right now would be rhetorically shredded by border hawks every day, just as there’s no doubt that obstruction allegations about a Democrat like the ones Mueller laid out in his report yesterday would have Republicans demanding impeachment. A Democrat would need to show progress on the border, not merely claim it.

2. The partisan flip side of the argument in point one is that rank-and-file Democrats would have been muted in their criticism of tougher border enforcement measures implemented by a Democratic president. That’s not to say President Hillary would have tried to separate families, for instance; Trump has clearly gone further in some ways that even a centrist liberal would. But Obama famously put unaccompanied minors in “cages” during the last border crisis in 2014. New tent cities and chicken-wire detention facilities built by a Democrat to cope with the current crush would have passed practically without comment from his/her party. It would have been fascinating to see how outspoken in favor of open borders Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or other radical freshmen Dems would have been if President Hillary were managing a border crackdown. Although, given the likelihood of a GOP midterm victory, maybe there’d be no AOC or Ilhan Omar in Congress under President Clinton. Or, if there was, they’d be part of a rump minority caucus whom no one needed to pay attention to.

3. It’s possible that Trump’s tough talk about the border without commensurately tough action is actually making the border stampede worse. Various news reports about migrants traveling north from Central America have noted how coyotes and other traffickers have tried to take advantage of Trump’s policies, warning would-be immigrants back home that the border is closing soon so they’d better act now. Trump’s recent “threat” to dump illegals on sanctuary cities might also be backfiring:

In fact, Suro said, the Trump threat to send Central American immigrants to sanctuary cities isn’t a threat at all and could very well be a dream come true for many fleeing the violence in their home countries. This is especially true if they are sent to big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, where most of the immigration courts and judges are located, facilitating efficient adjudication, he said.

These cities also have substantial legal resources and immigrant rights organizations to help new arrivals navigate the legal process and resettle. And most importantly, Suro said, they have large well-established communities of Latino immigrants, including many from the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, as well as relatives of asylum seekers who can help them find housing, jobs and services.

“If you were to design the plan for resettlement of these immigrants that was meant to be orderly and cost effective to the immigrants, you would do this,” Suro said. “This is really good policy design. … It’s what a great many of these migrants would want.”

Obviously Trump’s not as insulated from political pressure as Coulter suggests. He demanded a shutdown in December in a sort of blind hope that it would force Democrats to cough up money for the wall, fearing that his base expected some sort of action on that before 2020. Although you know what she’d say to that: If he cared about actually building the wall, he would have leaned on Republicans to do it when they had total control of Congress. A shutdown on the eve of Pelosi taking power is more like kabuki, aimed at creating the illusion of action. He fought with the Dems on a big stage, knowing that even if he lost his base would (a) respect him for trying and (b) blame Pelosi for any ensuing crisis on the border.

Margaret Hoover asks a fair question in the clip. What *exactly* would a Democratic president do differently than what Trump’s doing now? What would be the Democratic solution to asylum laws that entitle illegals subject to expedited removal to remain in the U.S., often under catch-and-release, while awaiting their appeal? What would Obama or Clinton do to streamline the asylum consideration process so that rejected applicants can be removed quickly? In theory a Dem president could have brokered a compromise with Congress, as either a Democratic or Republican House would have been willing to work on border enforcement at the behest of a president from the left. But probably the open-borders nuts in Pelosi’s caucus would have demanded some sort of amnesty concession before agreeing to that, which Republicans wouldn’t agree to, thus forcing the president to take executive action of some sort which both sides would have grudgingly tolerated — the GOP because it would mean more enforcement and Dems out of pure partisan loyalty.

The post Coulter: Let’s face it, this border crisis wouldn’t be as bad under a Democratic president appeared first on Hot Air.

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Mulvaney offers a compromise: How about a steel fence instead of a concrete wall?

Westlake Legal Group mm Mulvaney offers a compromise: How about a steel fence instead of a concrete wall? wall Trump The Blog Steel standoff Shutdown pelosi mulvaney fence Concrete compromise border

Makes sense that he and Trump wouldn’t be sticklers about the details of a wall. Mulvaney famously derided the idea when he was running for reelection to the House in 2015. And if you believe former Trump advisor turned enemy Sam Nunberg, the idea of a border wall was cooked up on the campaign trail as a way of keeping Trump on-message about immigration. It was a measure of rhetorical discipline more so than a serious policy proposal:

As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure their candidate — who hated reading from a script but loved boasting about himself and his talents as a builder — would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue in his nascent campaign.

“How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?” Sam Nunberg, one of Mr. Trump’s early political advisers, recalled telling Roger J. Stone Jr., another adviser. “We’re going to get him to talk about he’s going to build a wall.”

Three years later, the concrete wall is now a “steel fence.” Trump’s been pushing that idea for weeks, at least as far back as tweeting about “artistically designed steel slats” in mid-December, but I continue not to understand who the target audience for it is. Which Democrat is supposed to hear it and think, “Oh, a thousand miles of steel fencing instead of concrete? Here’s your check.”

Does the White House think the left’s problem with a wall or fence or barrier or whatever you want to call it is … aesthetics? They’re open-borders ideologues and they relish the idea of blocking Trump on the thing he most wants to do as president. You could have Frank Gehry design the wall and it wouldn’t matter a lick.

Or is this talking point aimed at swing voters, in hopes that they’ll accept it as evidence of Trump’s supposed willingness to compromise, however insignificantly, before the fit hits the shan later this week when federal paychecks don’t go out?

Mulvaney went on to call the proposal “evidence of our willingness to solve the problem.”

“If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, ‘See? He’s not building a wall anymore,’ that should help move us in the right direction.”

I think he’s just trolling, using an absurd example to show the right that Trump’s standing firm on his core demand. Either that or POTUS had the following thought: “My base will believe anything I tell them. Maybe Pelosi’s base will believe anything she tells them too.” Not so, although I wish for entertainment purposes that Democrats had a Speaker stupid enough to try to sell liberals on the idea that a massive steel fence is somehow meaningfully different from what Trump’s spent the last three years proposing. As it is, Pelosi must be tempted to counter Mulvaney with a similarly absurd offer. A thousand-mile moat? How about a hedgerow along the border from California to Texas? Green solutions.

Incidentally, Democratic leaders aren’t even showing up to meetings with Pence, the White House’s lead negotiator, anymore. They’re sending staff:

Chuck and Nancy had better be careful. Although the polling *had* favored them in the shutdown, it’s turned more ambivalent of late. Trump has done everything he can to claim responsibility for the standoff, which makes him the favorite to be blamed by the public when they start getting really mad about this, but the fact remains that Democrats are holding up funding here over a (relative) pittance like $5 billion for no reason more exalted than spite. Even if Trump does end up bearing most of the blame, that’s not necessarily a political loss for him. Bill Kristol’s onto something here:

Most voters won’t remember the shutdown in 2020. But some righties would have remembered Trump’s refusal to fight for the wall if he had ignored Ann Coulter and signed the clean spending bill that McConnell proposed. Although the odds of 20 Senate Republicans voting for removal after impeachment are remote under any circumstances, they’re more remote with the Republican base firmly on POTUS’s side than they’d be if he had caved immediately on the wall and pissed off populists. He’ll end up caving here anyway but by fighting for a few weeks he’ll at least have demonstrated his personal determination to make the wall happen. Any surrender can be laid off on McConnell or whoever as circumstances require.

The post Mulvaney offers a compromise: How about a steel fence instead of a concrete wall? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Huh: Top House Dem calls for “give and take” with Trump over wall standoff

Westlake Legal Group cb Huh: Top House Dem calls for “give and take” with Trump over wall standoff wall Trump The Blog Shutdown pelosi Illinois funding Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee democratic bustos border

I’m more surprised by this than I should be, probably. Watch, then read on.

Who’s Cheri Bustos? An interesting character, if you’re unfamiliar. Fun facts about her:

— She’s the new chair of the DCCC, the committee charged with helping to elect Democratic candidates to the House in 2020. The DCCC chair is also the fifth-highest-ranking member of the caucus. This isn’t some rando floating compromise with Trump on CNN. This is the leadership.

— She’s a Pelosi rival. In fact, no Democrat besides Nancy herself got as many floor votes for Speaker yesterday as Bustos did — only four, to be sure, but it shows that there’s already a constituency for her within the caucus. “Mrs. Bustos‘ fans in the Democrat caucus — many more than four — say she’s poised to someday ascend to speaker,” the Washington Times noted today. How many of her “fans” also think there should be some “give and take” with Trump?

— Her home district, IL-17, voted Democratic for president in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 — by double digits in all but one case. Trump stunned Hillary there in 2016, though, winning by less than a point. Bustos, meanwhile, has never had a truly tough race. She unseated the Republican incumbent in 2012 by nearly seven points, then won by 11 in 2014, then crushed her opponents by more than 20 in the last two cycles.

— Her brand has been “compromise” since long before the shutdown. Here’s what she told BuzzFeed a few days before the midterms:

“I think the next two years will be very, very important for us. I think we have a lot to prove to the American public. … We’ve lost that faith, to the point where we’ve been in the minority for, what is it, eight years now,” Bustos said. “I want to make sure that we can show them that we can get some hard work done. And I think we have two years, that’s a very short timeline, to show them that we can get this done, that we can be good legislators.”…

And yes, Bustos is even willing to work with Trump himself. “He wants to run for reelection in two years. He has to have something to show for it,” Bustos said. “If he wants something to show for it, then we’re saying sure, we’ll work with you on these issues that Americans care about.”

Add all of that up and Bustos’s comments in the clip shouldn’t feel like a surprise. She’s cultivated an image as a less partisan Democrat; her home district likes her a bunch but also likes Trump, pointing her towards moderation here; and as head of the DCCC, she needs to take care that what she says publicly doesn’t come back to haunt her colleagues who are running in redder, more Trump-friendly districts. Her job on the committee is to get them reelected, remember. Playing good cop to Pelosi’s bad cop on the wall might help them.

And yet. This is the first crack of daylight I’m aware of within the Democratic caucus on the shutdown. Pelosi’s message up until now has been that the party is unified in denying Trump his wall. Suddenly here’s the head of the DCCC on television saying, “Wellllllll…” Surprising! Plus, ask yourself how dangerous an anti-Trump comment by Bustos would really be to a red-state Democrat facing a tough race in 2020 given that 99.9 percent of the country couldn’t pick her out of a line-up. Realistically she’s in no danger of losing her own reelection bid either by taking a hard line against the wall. She won in a landslide the last time POTUS was on the ballot, after all. What happens in 2020 if she comes out as strongly anti-Trump? She wins by only 10 points instead? If anything, throwing a few jabs at him might endear her to the liberals in her caucus who’d prefer a more progressive Dem to Bustos as Pelosi’s successor.

Also, what’s up with this tweet, published shortly after the CNN interview today?

So Bustos doesn’t want “give and take” on the wall? Even though the wall is the only thing Trump wants? Or is this a case of Nancy yanking her leash after the CNN interview and warning her to get back in line before Republicans take heart from Bustos’s comments and decide to dig in further, believing Dems are about to cave?

I don’t think she’s saying much of anything here, really. In principle America needs more “give and take.” In this specific case, even though Trump’s asking for a pittance compared to what Democrats typically spend on government programs, she’s a hard no — purely to spite him, in keeping with the Democratic mission. If there’s any concrete compromise she’s willing to entertain, it probably involves generic “border” funding. Nothing for the wall but a few billion for “security” generally, just to show that Democrats care. Even though they obviously don’t.

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Trump: Damn right I told Schumer and Pelosi that the shutdown could go on for years

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A scene from the aftermath of today’s White House meeting with Chuck and Nancy about ending the shutdown. Schumer walked out and claimed that Trump said he’d continue the shutdown for months or even years if need be to secure wall funding. That was Trump’s cue to walk out and cry, “Fake news! I’m working overtime to end this thing and make sure federal workers get their next paycheck on time. It’s Democrats who are prepared to let it go on for years.” But David Frum is right about this:

I’d call this POTUS’s “Colonel Jessup moment” on the shutdown but he already had that a few weeks ago in the Oval Office:

The media reminded him of that earlier moment. Does he still want to admit to ordering the code red on the shutdown? You’re g-ddamned right he does.

Tough. Strong. Not so smart, maybe, especially with stories like this circulating. I give it another week before negotiations get serious, with Trump ultimately agreeing to take $2 billion in “border funding” or thereabouts as a moral victory. Or does he have an ace up his sleeve?

President Donald Trump is seriously considering potential options to circumvent Congress, including declaring a national emergency, to reprogram funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere to help pay for parts of his desired border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to multiple sources familiar with the ongoing discussions…

One administration official described the current executive action under consideration as clearing the way for the construction of roughly 115 miles of new border wall strictly on land owned by DoD, which would make up roughly 5 percent of the more than 2,000-mile border.

There is also a good chance the president would face legal challenges.

He was asked about that at today’s presser and said he was considering it. Setting aside the fact that the president invoking emergency powers to end a standoff with Congress is an egregiously bad precedent, there’s an obvious difference between building the wall on land which the feds already own versus building it on privately owned land. When reporters pressed him about that, he said he might use “the military version of eminent domain” to get it done. What he meant, no one knows. Probably it was a reference to federal land — they’ll repurpose land that’s already in the government’s possession and build a tiny fraction of the wall there. If he meant something else involving private land, that would be … big news. But then, he always has been a fan of eminent domain.

Every time he publicizes one of these stalemate meetings with Democrats, he makes it harder for himself politically to compromise. It’s like promoting a staring contest. The more public interest there is, the worse it looks when you blink. Although this caught my eye on Twitter today:

If you don’t know him, Ben Garrison is one of Trump’s most diehard fans in righty media, the cartoonist equivalent of Bill Mitchell. Normally you’d expect him to be flogging the Democrats during a shutdown standoff. In this case it’s Coulter and her demand for a wall at all costs that’s the target. You’re getting a sneak peek here at a potential rift in MAGA-land if/when Trump caves. Nationalists will be irate (for a few days) that he failed again to fund the wall; Trumpists will rally to him and call the nationalists ingrates for sniffing at all of his other victories. Trump has more cover among his base for compromising than he may think.

Exit question: Will landlords be as chill about federal workers not paying rent this month as Trump is?

Update: Well, here we go.

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports, according to two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials.

The mass call outs could inevitably mean air travel is less secure, especially as the shutdown enters its second week with no clear end to the political stalemate in sight…

“This problem of call outs is really going to explode over the next week or two when employees miss their first paycheck,” a union official at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport told CNN. “TSA officers are telling the union they will find another way to make money. That means calling out to work other jobs.”

What happens when flight schedules go FUBAR because there are too few TSA screeners on duty to screen passengers expeditiously?

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Lindsey Graham: It’s probably the end of Trump’s presidency if he caves on the wall

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I’ve been blogging since the Bush presidency, through the war on terror, the rise of Obama, and the rise of Trump. I thought I’d seen it all.

I never imagined an Ann Coulter/Lindsey Graham convergence on immigration.

Is the man known to righties as “Grahamnesty” turning over a new leaf or is he working an angle here? The question answers itself.

“He’s not going to sign a bill that doesn’t have money for the wall. I can tell you exactly how this is going to end. The president is going to challenge Democrats to compromise and if they continue to say no, they’re going to pay the price with the American people,” Graham said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Hannity.”

“If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president,” he continued. “That’s the probably the end of his presidency. Donald Trump has made a promise to the American people. He’s going to secure our border.”

I hope he’s right that Democrats will pay the price if the shutdown drags on. The polling so far hasn’t been encouraging:

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Overall, YouGov finds that 48 percent say Trump is most to blame for the shutdown versus 35 percent who say congressional Democrats are. The numbers are basically the same at Morning Consult, where 43 percent say Trump is mostly to blame versus 31 percent who say Democrats are. Not a big deal either way: The shutdown will be long forgotten by 2020. But Democrats are under no pressure from this data to cave on wall funding. To the contrary, because presidents tend to get credit or blame for major events that happen during their terms, the more the shutdown begins to pose a financial hardship for federal employees — which it will soon — the more likely Trump is to start sweating.

So what’s Graham’s game? Three possibilities. One: The new and improved Lindsey Graham 2.0 is a true blue border warrior, ready to shut down the government forever to secure a major win for Trump even though Trump just broke his heart by ordering full withdrawal from Syria. Seems … unlikely. Two: Graham’s mad at Trump for the Syria withdrawal and is looking to stick it to him here, knowing that Trump will eventually have to cave on wall funding. Graham’s raising the stakes on Trump TV, a.k.a. Fox News, so that POTUS’s inevitable surrender is that much more painful to him politically among his base. Anti-Trumpers on Twitter like this theory but I think it’s wishful thinking.

We’re left with the third possibility: He really wants amnesty for DREAMers and he knows this may be his only chance to get it. Both sides are leery of a DREAM-for-wall deal, after all. Democrats don’t want to give Trump money for his pet project under any circumstances so soon after their big House win; meanwhile, nationalists like Coulter and Rush Limbaugh who drove Trump to force a shutdown over the wall will howl if it comes at the price of amnesty. Graham’s trying to push Trump and Democrats together here, first by showing the left that even immigration moderates like him will line up with Trump on the wall this time. They’re going to have to come to the table. But by signaling his loyalty to Trump, he’s also hoping to make POTUS more amenable to his DREAM-for-wall compromise. Essentially, Graham’s offering him a way out of this mess and framing it as best he can as an honorable bargain. This isn’t “Grahamnesty” floating a deal for DREAMers, in other words, this is Lindsey “NO SURRENDER ON THE WALL” Graham floating it. And doing it on “Hannity” to boot, to try to get Trump’s buddy Sean to buy into it. The more comfortable Fox’s audience is with the idea that DREAM-for-wall is a fair deal, the more comfortable Trump will be, and the more likely Graham’s plan will succeed.

Coulter won’t like it — she already expects Trump to “fold in the end” — but as I’ve said more than once, most Trumpers aren’t like Coulter in their relationship to him. They don’t see him as a disposable vehicle towards nationalist policy gains. They see him as their champion. They’re not transactional with him like she is, notes J.J. McCullough:

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that the vast majority of Republicans have enormous, across-the-board confidence in everything about Trump: 82 percent said he had good leadership skills, 77 percent said he was honest, 92 percent said he was intelligent, and 80 percent agreed he was someone who “shares your values.” Trump was given astronomically high approval on the management of basically every issue as well, including 86 percent approval for his handling of “immigration issues.”

When confidence in the president’s competence is this high, failure to achieve policy perfection is rarely held against him. If one begins from a position of unshakable faith that Trump is a wise, honest, skilled leader, then all other perceptions of political reality will revolve around this core truth.

Trump can’t get the wall done? Well, it’s probably the fault of the Democrats. Or the deep state. Or the media. Or Hillary (somehow). Give the man a break!

Correct. No doubt, there’ll be grumbling among populists over whatever deal Trump eventually reaches with Democrats on the wall; Coulter and Limbaugh et al. will see to it. But populist upset on the right towards him is always just one “the president is under siege by his enemies!” news cycle away from fading. There’ll be a day of anger about his failure on the wall and then Mueller will drop his report or Jerrold Nadler will subpoena Don Jr or whatever and then everyone will be back on the team.

Here’s Graham trying to live the DREAM. Exit question: Has Rand Paul’s influence over Trump on foreign policy forced Graham to defend Trump more than he’d like? POTUS loves a toady, and Rand has been toadying his ass off lately vis-a-vis Mitt Romney in order to keep Trump happy with Team Isolationist. If Graham got publicly antagonistic with Trump it would only strengthen Paul’s hand, and Graham knows it.

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