Thursday, December 27, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said Democrats should give him his border wall funding because the federal employees it's hurting are mostly Democrats.

Today was the 6th day that about a quarter of the federal government, including the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, was either shut down or relying on federal employees working without pay. Trump has painted himself into a corner politically over the issue of funding for his oft-promised, never-built border wall, and shows no signs of being willing to come out of it. 

Today, he offered a new (if empty) threat to Congressional Democrats who can block wall funding in the Senate and are about to take over control of the House of Representatives: give him what he wants, because the workers the shutdown is hurting are mostly Democrats themselves.

There are a few problems with this. First, federal employees on the whole are not unusually likely to be Democrats. 

Second, by admitting that the shutdown is hurting federal employees, Trump is admitting that he was lying when he said on Christmas Day that "many" such employees supported the move. It may seem obvious to most Americans that missing paychecks could cause problems for families, but as an heir to a massive family fortune, Trump sometimes misses these points. (Earlier today, the federal government's personnel agency issued letters to affected employees that they could use to beg creditors for leniency during the shutdown.)

And finally, Trump is all but saying that he is willing to punish federal workers in order to get what he wants because he thinks they vote against him anyway.

Who cares?

  • Attacking the supporters of your political enemies is what authoritarians do.
  • A president who can't or won't understand that most Americans actually need their paychecks is incompetent.
  • Presidents are supposed to want what is best for all Americans, not just the ones he thinks like him.