Republicans say Trump knows he's 'cornered' on the border wall—we'll see
Donald Trump and his team of crackerjack aides have reportedly finally figured out that Trump has backed himself into an exit-less corner on border wall funding, according to Politico. And while it’s emphatically true that his strategerie has left him trapped, we’ll see whether he attempts to actually cut his losses or instead chooses to claw his way into an even worse position.
For now, Republicans report (perhaps out of wishful thinking) that Trump is softening his demand that $5.7 billion in border wall funding be included in the compromise measure presently being negotiated by a bipartisan congressional delegation.
“He’ll consider any kind of reasonable proposition … there’s a general openness,” says Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who’s facing a potentially precarious re-election in 2020.
“They intentionally have not set a firm number. … And I think that’s to show their willingness to negotiate, so that’s good,” says Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, a negotiator who’s also up for re-election in 2020, albeit in one of the most pro-Trump states in the nation.
Senate Appropriations chair Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama left a Thursday meeting with Trump saying, “He’s somewhat open, flexible.”
To review, Trump has no good options. He dug himself into an obstinate demand on wall funding that was unsupported by public opinion. He then further alienated the public and tanked his own approval ratings with an even more unpopular government shutdown for which he proudly claimed credit. After losing that battle and getting nothing, he began laying the groundwork for declaring a national emergency that’s profoundly unpopular among the public and many, if not most, Senate Republicans. He’s literally got nothing working in his favor: Not political capital after getting ruined in the midterms, not public support, and not strong congressional relationships—nothing. And his stunning negotiating stupidity has made it a breeze for House Democrats to wave him off like a pesky fly. If Trump hadn’t made hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer so much on his road to defeat, it would be comical.
All this has left Trump between the proverbial rock and a hard place: he will likely either have to accept a fig leaf on his wall money demand or declare a national emergency that will almost surely result in a rebuke resolution of disapproval in the Senate.