Our government, controlled by Republicans, was shut down last Friday – because our Chief Executive, Donald Trump, wanted to shut down the government – and the Republican leadership couldn’t get more than 46 Republican Senators to keep the government open on the terms that Mr. Trump demanded; worse, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knew that would be the result, shutting down the government, when he forced the vote, and so the vote was a congressional exercise in tragic futility.
Mr. Donald Trump is unprecedented as the nation’s Chief Executive in his openly stated bias against non-white nations and persons of color; and that appears to be the sticking point for Mr. Trump – his general opposition to non-white immigration. The rub is that Mr. Trump has to approve and sign whatever bill both houses pass.
Mr. Trump showed us his true self about immigrants just days ago when he erupted in an infamously bigoted tirade against immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa, echoing his earlier sympathetic remarks for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Hours into the shutdown, while partisans were negotiating to open the government over the weekend, Trump hurled another of his rhetorical grenades, in a “political campaign ad,” unimaginably charging that “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan would not say Dems were “complicit” in murder, thought the charge was not productive, but didn’t denounce it.
On Saturday, twenty Senators from both parties convened to negotiate the budget, but they were marginalized by the lying, blistering political attack ad of Mr. Trump.
We have an inexperienced Chief Executive who said on January 9, 2018 that he was leaving it to Congress to settle the matter.
Mr. Trump summoned Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham who had a bipartisan settlement that was well received when first disclosed over the phone to Mr. Trump; when the Senators arrived at the White House, however, Mr. Trump had other Republican leaders who bushwhacked the joint proposal.
Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last Friday offered a settlement including a full authorization for $20 Billion for Mr. Trump’s “campaign” wall; Trump first accepted and then rejected this proposal as well.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell said he would do what Mr. Trump wanted, even though Trump originally said he was leaving it to the Hill. But Mr. Trump “changed his mind” as that strategy wasn’t getting him what he wanted.
As a result, we had a shutdown. The reason is clear – Trump wanted to deny any break for the foreign-born children brought here by their parents.
Some might think a war on children would shame our elected officials to get this done.
The Republicans said they can agree that American children may have health insurance.
The Republicans would not, however, agree that foreign-born children (the “dreamers”) that made this nation their second home may stay.
The Republicans wanted to force a choice between and among the children.
Not to put too sharp a point on this question but the Courts have upheld the exec order status of these “dreamers” to the chagrin of Mr. Trump, posing as their champion, while going to court to end their status.
Mr. Trump has also insisted on a wall, 2,000 miles long, on the Mexican border paid for by us taxpayers.
Candidate Trump insisted this wall would be invoiced to Mexico. Of course, when Mr. Trump asked Mexico to pay, they said, “Absolutamente No!”
The Dems couldn’t take the heat. They folded, betraying the “dreamers” based on a “promise” by the Senate Majority Leader who said, “trust me,” and gave the assurance, “Why I’ll bring a bill on the foreign born children to the floor you can amend and discuss and vote on before March 9, 2018.” But we’re not going to put that assurance in this continuing resolution. Trust me!
We should have made a budget bill by now, instead of kicking it down the road.
When we finally get around to making a budget, the bill must include all our children, not playing them off against each other, and we must reassure the world we are not hiding behind a latter day Chinese wall that betrays this nation’s original promise of equality and diversity.