Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He bragged about his political courage on an issued he'd already backed down from.

This afternoon, Trump repeated his recent threat to shut down the government ahead of the fall midterms if his (as yet unspecified) demands weren't met on immigration by "Democrats" (who control neither house of Congress). 

In particular, Trump claimed he didn't care about the "political ramifications" of a shutdown. But by the time he posted that tweet, he had already told his staff he would wait at least until after the midterm elections. 

Of course, it's impossible to know until Election Day has come and gone whether Trump was lying to his staff, or to the country, about whether he cares about the "political ramifications." Even by his standards, Trump has been all over the map on the subject of shutdowns. He said that "our country needs a good shutdown" last May, and called for another one this February. Last December he publicly accused Democrats of wanting one while privately telling his advisors he thought it would help his poll numbers. But when he finally got one, on the anniversary of his inauguration, he was furious because it forced him to cancel a campaign fundraiser so that he could pretend to work on a weekend.

Why should this bother me?

  • It's wrong to lie.
  • It's insulting for a politician to lie about whether he is concerned about politics.
  • Shutting down the government is expensive and disruptive to the economy and is a stupid starting point for negotiations.