Today in the Rose Garden the President caved to demands from Democrats, instructing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a clean spending bill that would keep the government open until February 15. That bill includes no wall funding, no "smart wall" funding, and no drug-sniffing drone funding or whatever the fuck. Just a clean funding bill. He also said the deal involved lawmakers working out some kind of "homeland security package and border security" for him to sign within three weeks. In essence, Trump's doing what the Democrats said they wanted to do: pass a clean funding bill and then negotiate on border security.
However, if he doesn't get money for his wall in that deal, Trump said he will shutdown the government again on Feb 15, or he will declare a national emergency so he can funnel defense funds to construct the wall. On Twitter, Senator Dick Durban called for a bipartisan bill to prevent future government shutdowns, which is possible if we want it.
Trump said all federal employees, who have been working or otherwise trying to survive without a paycheck for 36 days now, will get their backpay "very quickly, or as soon as possible." Trump's announcement comes a few hours after planes were grounded at New York's La Guardia airport due to understaffing of air traffic controllers related to the shutdown. Flights were delayed across the country.
After announcing his defeat like he just won the Super Bowl, Trump descended into a dissembling and lie-laced rant about immigrants ripped straight from Steven Miller's racist rage journal. He said that "walls should not be controversial" and implied that only a small number of children have been affected by recent migrations and Trump's cruel border policies. "The victims are women and children—maybe to a lesser extent children, believe it or not," he said.
Trump's claim is, of course, complete bullshit. The U.S. is currently holding well over 10,000 migrant children in tents mostly along the southern border, and just yesterday the Trump administration implemented a new measure that will force asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while the government processes their claim. The policy contravenes U.S. and international human rights laws, and advocates worry that Mexico doesn't have the capacity to take the refugees.
Trump's concession is a very large and visible loss for him, but it should also embarrass and shame Senate Republicans, who held 800,000 paychecks hostage rather than exercise their power as a coequal branch of government to pass a clean spending bill with a veto-proof majority. Just yesterday, all but 6 Republicans voted against reopening the government for two weeks. Today, they're all planning to vote to reopen the government for three weeks. This lunacy shows the essential cowardice and heartlessness of these lawmakers. It shows they'd force their own constituents to work overtime without pay, to sleep in their cars, and to shop at food banks before they'd stand up to the President. It shows they'd tank the economy, threaten airport security, cyber security, food security, and even their precious border security before they'd reject just one of the President's idiotic proposals. It shows they'd let the National Parks rot and let scientific research grind to a halt before openly disagreeing with the President. Democrats should be making these points as loudly and as often as they possibly can forever.
This shameful episode also reveals the extent to which Republicans have been captured by Trump's revanchist base. Let's do a quick check-in to see how they're taking the news:
Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 25, 2019