You can’t begrudge a little gloating from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she commenced her first press conference since the end of Trump’s unnecessary and economically debilitating government shutdown. As Pelosi entered the room crowded with reporters who were eagerly waiting to hear from the newly empowered Speaker of the House, she remarked:
“Wow! Full house! Winning is good.”
Speaker Pelosi was stating the obvious after she flexed her muscles with her new majority in a branch of government that the president may finally have to acknowledge — against his authoritarian instincts and desires — is co-equal in power to the executive branch that he heads.
Her victory in forcing Trump to capitulate and end the shutdown for a few weeks at least — without getting the funding for the border wall that he lusts after like one of his illicit mistresses — reinforced her ability to hold the Democratic coalition in lock-step in opposition to the president’s poorly reasoned solution to border security.
As Trump held a press conference doubling down on his intransigence and again expressed his willingness to put the nation through another shutdown or to declare what he calls a “national emergency” when the situation defies the accepted definition of the words, Pelosi made her position perfectly clear.
“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” she told reporters of the congressional committee working to out together a compromise bill to prevent another shutdown.
The Speaker did not rule out other border security measures that could indicate room for negotiations with Republicans who may be more eager than the president to avoid the harm that a second shutdown would cause and the legal and Constitutional precedent of allowing Trump to declare a bogus emergency merely to make an end-run around Congressional authority to allocate government spending.
When Pelosi was questioned about repairs to existing barriers and high-tech options to monitor the border, she gave the president a face-saving out of the corner into which he’s painted himself.
“If the President wants to call that a wall, he can call it a wall. He’s referencing what we already have, almost 700 miles of wall. So again it’s a place where enhanced fencing, Normandy fencing would work. Let them have that discussion,” The House Speaker said of the committee’s attempts to find a compromise solution.
With Trump seemingly retreating, however, to a “my way or the highway” position that would only accept an actual physical barrier that has to be a wall to be acceptable to his constrained mind, most bets are that negotiations will be fruitless and Trump will incite a period of court challenges and legal wrangling after declaring a fictional national emergency that exists only in his mind and those of the deluded marks who believe his signature con game.
As Democrats stay united in their opposition to catering to Trump’s whims, it remains to be seen if a sufficient number of Republican Senators can be convinced to defy the president and provide a veto-proof majority for any longer-term government funding. If they don’t abandon Trump at this point, they are gambling that the next round of damage caused by the internal conflict won’t prove fatal to their chances in the next election.
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