Last night, Donald Trump made news with a prime time address from the prestigious setting of the Oval Office. I mean, it was news if you’re a Trump sycophant who believes a 72-year-old racist, sniffy, bloviating Cheeto-skinned fear monger repeating the same arguments from the past three years off a teleprompter with the reading level of a third grader is news.
In 2014, the major networks refused to air a prime-time address by President Obama because they deemed it too political. Last night, they aired one from Donald Trump where he argued that Democrats should end his government shutdown by funding his racist medieval vanity project so rapists and murderers would stop crossing our southern border. I’m glad it didn’t get political.
The latest talking point from the stupidest and most racist administration in American history is “crisis.”
Yes, we have a crisis on the border if you can ignore the facts that illegal border crossings have been decreasing steadily over the past decade, most drugs entering this nation pass through ports of entry, people here illegally commit far less violent crimes than those born here naturally, and most here illegally entered with visas.
All the above was fact-checked by one news anchor who also reported that the $5.7 billion the shutdown is over was requested, not by law enforcement as Trump claimed, but by Trump himself. The anchor also called Trump out over his claim that the new trade deal with Mexico will pay for the wall, by pointing out the deal is not yet complete. That anchor was Shep Smith of Fox News.
Trump also claimed the wall would pay for itself. He didn’t explain how, so we’re all to assume the wall will get a job.
There is a crisis on the border, but it’s not crossings. It’s Trump’s policy of family separation and putting children in detention camps. In addition to the shutdown, Trump owns a humanitarian crisis.
Trump’s address would have made news if he used it to declare a “national emergency,” but he didn’t. That is a good thing because the only national emergency for Trump is that government employees won’t be paid this Friday, he’s losing support, and he’s owning this shutdown.
If the border crisis is such a national emergency, then how does it make sense to have the government shutdown? How will $5.7 billion, a down payment for a construction project that will take years and be much more expensive, be an immediate solution?
Trump let radio talk show host bungholes cajole him into this shutdown and now he’s in a corner he can’t get out of. If he crumbles, his entire argument for the wall and Mexico ever paying for it is over. If he holds firm, he’ll continue to hurt 800,000 government employees and the families and local economies that rely on their income.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a rebuttal while sharing a podium and looking goofy. But their argument made sense. End the shutdown and continue negotiating about border security. Democrats will support funding for the border, just not a stupid and useless wall.
Trump’s address was to save his skin among his base, but all he did was repeat the same arguments he made over the past week to the press and on Twitter. He blamed Democrats, claimed they don’t support border security, and lied about the dangers of immigrants. And, he did it without any energy or enthusiasm.
It was later reported that Trump didn’t want to give the speech or go to Texas later this week for a border photo-op. In an off-the-record luncheon, he told reporters, “It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” and that the Texas trip is just a “photo opportunity.” Somehow, all that got on the record.
Don’t expect the public mood to shift in Trump’s favor. He made the same argument about the border and created lies about migrant caravans during the campaign for the midterm elections. America responded by voting overwhelmingly against the Trump agenda. The majority of Americans are rejecting racism and xenophobia.
Once again, Trump proved he can’t be trusted. This time, the networks got burned. Maybe they’ll remember this non-news event the next time Trump asks to use their networks for a prime-time address. But, they probably didn’t learn anything.
I expect more Republicans to call to end the shutdown before this day is over. I also expect Trump to end the shutdown soon and tell us we should all thank him for that. His supporters will echo that, and he was the mature one for ending it…after starting it. That is not a bold prediction.
Creative note: I finally caved and did a Pinocchio cartoon. I thought this was an interesting take on the cliché while poking fun at myself for always drawing Trump’s hair and tie protruding out of televisions. What will I do next, draw Trump as Humpty Dumpty on the wall?