Trump’s destructive showdown

Federal workers the pawn in the president’s battle for a fence

President Trump went into demagogue mode Tuesday evening during his brief address to the nation—a one-man dog-and-pony show within the walls of the Oval Office.

Speaking slowly and calmly, a departure from the tone he’s taken during previous fiery speeches besmirching immigrants, POTUS ran through a checklist of xenophobic talking points and charged that the only cure for a purported “crisis” at the border of the United States and Mexico is his much-hyped plan for a “barrier” (he apparently has moved on from the terms “wall” and “fence”).

It was familiar territory for the president, who once again described undocumented immigrants as drug smugglers, murderers and rapists. Thing is, most Americans aren’t buying into the manufactured emergency. Perhaps that’s because of POTUS’ proclivity for lying, an attribute exposed regularly by the media, his political foes and even members of his own party.

Following his speech, fact-checkers noted a number of problems with his rhetoric. First off, illegal border crossings are down. Additionally, multiple legitimate data sets show that immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to commit crimes.

Trump’s speech comes during the third week of a partial government shutdown—a showdown between his administration and congressional Democrats over his multibillion-dollar request to fund the project, infrastructure he promised Mexico would pay for.

His efforts to blame the opposition party for it, however, contrast with his actions over the recent weeks. For starters, the president threatened a government closure last month: During a televised meeting with Democratic party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, he said he would be “proud” to follow through.

The reality of it isn’t so simple. It leaves hundreds of thousands of federal employees without the paychecks they rely upon, which would jeopardize the lives of most Americans—such as low-income families that rely on housing and food vouchers. Of course, a billionaire reality-TV star like the president would find that true reality difficult to comprehend.

While the intent of his speech ostensibly was to get funding for his wall, we can’t help but wonder about the true objective. Could this be just another distraction from the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling? Could it be a tactic to help solidify his base? Could it be just another in a long list of political tantrums?

In any case, it’s another reason to say goodbye to him come 2020. Hopefully sooner.