For the third time this year, a federal government shutdown looms as President Donald Trump demands more money for a Southern border wall in exchange for a budget deal with congressional leaders.
How can Trump blame Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to be speaker of the House, for not paying up when he’s always promised that Mexico would foot the bill?
Tuesday at the White House, Trump met with Pelosi and Schumer. The Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security, approximately the same amount appropriated for this year, but mostly not spent. But the math didn’t dominate a meeting that turned into a confrontation. Trump needled Pelosi by implying she is weak in her caucus, and he seemed blown back when she hit hard on his party’s House losses. The president also taunted Schumer with threats of a shutdown, only to have the grimacing senator say of his budget offer, “It’s called funding the government, Mr. President.” Then Trump pounced on the idea of a shutdown, saying, “I will take the mantle, I will be the one to shut it down,” if they won’t fund more wall construction. In January, Schumer offered Trump $25 billion for the wall in return for protection from deportation for 800,000 immigrants brought here as children. Trump turned it down, and much of the federal government shut down for three days. The president often wants to fight, especially over the wall, more than he wants to win.
But the American people do not want a shutdown. Polls show they do want a path to legal residency for “Dreamers,” whose lives are so important that it would be worth giving Trump more wall money to secure their futures. If Trump wants that deal, Democrats ought to listen. If not, they ought to let him put his shutdown on his shoulders.
Or he can get the money from Mexico, as he’s always promised.
— The editorial board