If there was anything at all notable about Donald Trump’s “proposal” to end the government shutdown, it was that he successfully read a speech about immigration from a teleprompter without going off on a tangent about women “tied up in vans“.
Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of fearmongering. He played the rape card, he invoked “youman trafficking” and he mentioned the “ruthless coyotes” again. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as the horror story he regaled America with from the Oval Office earlier this month.
Also worth mentioning: he managed to get through the entire 13-minute address without too much sniffing and without succumbing to one of those acute bouts of dry mouth that produced his infamous “United Shhhates” debacle.
Other than that, Saturday’s address was largely pointless. Trump, donning a particularly offensive shade of burnt-orange makeup which served to accentuate the ghostly white circles around his eye sockets, parroted a series of talking points (which, hilariously, he insisted “aren’t talking points”) on the way to making the same old proposal.
There were some details (I wouldn’t be so generous as to use the word “nuance”) but the gist of it is that he pledged to protect Dreamers for three years if somebody (anybody, really) will give him $5.7 billion for his wall. He explicitly said it wouldn’t be a “sea-to-sea concrete barrier”, and he reiterated the whole “see-through steel” characterization something that, at this point, isn’t even good for a laugh anymore.
As noted here on a couple of occasions this week, opinion polls show that the majority of Americans blame Trump (and the GOP) for the shutdown. That’s understandable because, well, because this:
It’s beyond parody.
Trump also offered a similar three-year extension of Temporary Protected Status for some 300,000 people who face deportation otherwise.
Bottom line: Trump is torn on this whole thing. On one hand, America generally blames him for the shutdown, but on the other hand, support for the wall has gone up. Conservative pundits, knowing Trump is listening/watching, have spent the last month piling on, where that means manipulating him by suggesting that if he caves on the wall, he’s reneging on a promise to his base.
Ann Coulter, for instance, isn’t amused:
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi called the proposal a “non-starter” before Trump even delivered his address, so again, it’s not clear what the point was. All he’s managed to do now is infuriate hardline conservatives while simultaneously reiterating his demand for a wall that Democrats simply aren’t going to allow him to build, no matter whether it’s made out of concrete, steel or “hamberders.”
So, look forward to the shutdown dragging on for another several weeks – or until Trump is impeached. Whichever comes first.
Democrats were hopeful that @realDonaldTrump was finally willing to re-open government & proceed with a much-needed discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of previously rejected initiatives. https://t.co/MFwebWSevG pic.twitter.com/yMTm4iP27h
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 19, 2019