Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called for the government his party controls to shut down.

There wasn't much ambiguity in Trump's comments at a White House meeting today: he used the
term "shutdown" six times in five sentences, saying he'd "love to see one" rather than compromise with the bipartisan immigration bills being developed in Congress.

If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown. We'll do a shutdown and it's worth it for our country. I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of. ...If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don't want safety, and unrelated but still related, they don't want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We'll go with another shutdown.
On the surface, Trump's comments are simply about his unwillingness or inability to negotiate with Congress, but it's worth noting that Trump has shown a weird fondness for the failure of American government in the past. In May, when Congressional Republicans preferred former president Obama's budget priorities to his own, Trump declared that "our country needs a good shutdown." The January 2018 shutdown on Trump's watch was the first ever during one-party control of government.

Trump isn't always pro-shutdown. For example, when Obama was president, Trump seemed to remember that shutdowns are bad things that hurt the economy, cost far more than normal government operations, and are unpopular with voters.

Why is this a problem?

  • Presidents should be willing to at least try to do their jobs.
  • The proper functioning of the U.S. government is more important than the president's pride.