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Trump: A National Emergency

January 28, 2019

President Trump finally ended (at least for three weeks) the partial government shutdown created when he would not agree to continuing spending legislation which did not allocate funds dedicated to building his long-promised wall to prevent illegal entry of immigrants via the US/Mexico border. For 35 days, about 800,000 federal employees were either furloughed or expected to work without pay because a deal could not be worked out that included $5.7B for building such a wall, which Trump had promised Mexico would pay for throughout his 2016 campaign.

Government services for many, including Food Stamp recipients, maintenance for National Parks, Transportation Security (TSA airport personnel plus Air Traffic Controllers), along with significant portions of border security currently in place, were also negatively affected by the shutdown. A general lack of empathy from the President himself down the ranks of his cabinet for the plight of people who were either temporarily left off the government payroll through no fault of their own. The Administration honchos seemed to go all out to say that it was no big deal. This time off was a great vacation. They didn’t seem to realize how many people in this country – including even Federal Government employees – genuinely do live paycheck to paycheck and cannot easily skip any of those paychecks and still meet their financial obligations. Rent, mortgage payments, credit card bills, food, clothing, health care and all the rest of the stuff that people like Donald Trump, Wilbur Ross and the rest of the millionaire boys club that dominates the upper echelons of the DC power elite have never had to worry about (or at least not in recent memory) got short-shrift in public conversation of the issues.

Trump was easily the worst in terms of downplaying the burdens being taken on by the working and middle class people who he was using as pawns and hostages in his attempt at forcing the Congress (primarily the Congressional Democrats) to capitulate to his demand for funding his wall. 35 days of no work and no pay for some or continued work for no pay for other workers deemed more essential. Public pressure and a lack of ability of the President to sell his case of National Security and public safety interests in building the wall ultimately caused Trump to capitulate to the initial desires of the Congressional Democrats to separate the negotiations over border security from the everyday livelihoods of so many American workers. 35 days that showed how little regard Trump really has for the wellbeing of hard working public servants.

This exercise in futility (more for affected workers and the prospective immigrants and asylum seekers than for Trump and his enablers in the administration and Congress) was pretty much a continuation of the rhetoric Trump was spewing throughout the 2018 midterm election campaign railing against the hordes of invading terrorists headed for our border with Mexico. Trump’s (and the GOP’s) drubbing in those elections was in no way mitigated by these antics, which seemed more like Trump 2020 campaign rallies than events to retain a majority in the US House of Representatives. His initial political battles with Speaker Pelosi have not gone well for him. In the end, he wasted all that time, gave up three additional weeks for the general public to worry about another potential shutdown on February 15 while gaining absolutely nothing of what he had hoped to game by his strategy.

What will happen between now and February 15th? Shutting down the government again would most likely be counterproductive from his standpoint. He lost the PR battle by publicly owning the shutdown in a highly televised meeting with the incoming House and Senate leadership just prior to the shutdown. Much as he’d like to believe he can sell his “fake news” balderdash ad infinitum, he can’t. He says all this stuff for the cameras. The videos don’t disappear.

Will the President attempt to bypass Congress entirely by declaring the border situation a national emergency? He has threatened to do so on more than one occasion. From day one in his Administration, he has shown a marked preference for getting things done via Executive Orders, with mixed results – often after lengthy court battles, not all of which were decided in his favor. What is needed is comprehensive immigration reform. The sorts of policies that have been used by Trump, DHS and DOJ to this point have proven problematic in terms of domestic public opinion, Constitutionality and perhaps most importantly in regard to human rights and humane treatment of individuals and families seeking asylum from horrendous conditions in their home countries.

Donald Trump seems at times to be flailing in trying to press his own personal agenda in both domestic and international affairs. Investigations that may ultimately cost him his job seem to be wearing heavily on him. His willingness to create confusion and distractions seems endless, perhaps exceeded only by his tendency to overly embellish situations and events to totally blur all sense of reality from whatever topic is on his mind at any given time. He has set a new record for length of a federal government shutdown and appears ready, willing and able to set new records for false statements, half-truths and downright lies to the American people and the world at large.

Congress, at least the House of Representatives since last year’s elections, seems somewhat more willing to stand up to Trump’s bullying and authoritarian tendencies of late. Perhaps more GOP members of Congress will begin to show a willingness to do likewise, if only in hopes of retaining their seats. We the people must do our part in holding them to their sworn duty to represent each and every one of us without favoring moneyed interests and non-democratic policies and procedures. We need to make Trump a one term President at worst, and ensure that we never have another President like him or worse in our future.

Further Suggested Readings:

Trump threatens to declare national emergency in order to get his wall built

This is how Trump’s border wall shutdown threatens U.S. security

Bernie Sanders slams Trump for stoking ‘fear and hatred’ with lie-filled national address

Waiting for the National Emergency

Trump wants disaster funds for the wall The president directs the Army Corps of Engineers to find money in its budget that could be used to fund a border wall under a national emergency declaration, sources say. Money set aside for relief projects

Fox’s Shep Smith comes through with immediate fact-check of Trump’s lie-a-thon

Top Republicans oppose border ’emergency’ as shutdown  drags on

Article: "There is No Crisis at the Border"

Marco Rubio: Declaring National Emergency for Border Wall Is a ‘Terrible Idea’

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  1. Great article, very well written and to the point. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was waiting for the air traffic controllers or the baggage handlers to walk out or not show up. One side case I know happened, when truckers bringing goods to Alaska via British Columbia, couldn’t make deliveries due to paperwork not ready. As always a good article Rick.


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