Trump’s imaginary border crisis

Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: There is no national security crisis on the southern border.

President Trump claimed otherwise in his nine-minute Oval Office address to the nation on Tuesday night. But he was lying.

How do we know this? Because if there were a genuine national security crisis on the southern border, Republicans in the House and Senate would be tripping over themselves to fund — and take credit for funding — Trump’s border wall. There is no political downside whatsoever to taking a strong stand in defense of the country in the midst of a national security crisis.

And yet, what have we seen over the past two years during which Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and could have appropriated funds for Trump’s beloved wall at any time? Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Part of the reason is that Trump’s talk of the wall on the campaign trail was always wrapped up with the patently preposterous claim that Mexico would pay for it. That stuck in the craw of some fiscally prudent Republicans. (Yes, there are still a small handful of those around.) But if the threat were real — if the evidence of it were obvious, or even vaguely plausible — even the stingiest members of the GOP would gladly have added a few more inches onto the Everest of national debt in return for looking tough and patriotic. We would have gotten wall funding in the opening months of the Trump administration. Hell, in the face of a genuine national security crisis, the vast majority of Democrats would be eager to share credit for keeping the country safe, even with Trump in the White House.

But none of that has happened. Not before the failure to repeal ObamaCare, and not after. Not before passage of the massive corporate tax cut, and not after. Not in the run-up to the midterm elections, and not after.

Because there is no national security crisis on the southern border — and everyone in Washington knows it.

And to the extent that there is a humanitarian crisis there, which the president also asserted in his speech, it’s almost entirely the creation of the Trump administration itself, whether through ineptitude or malice. (With this president and his team, it is usually both.)

So here we are — roughly a week into a new Congress with Democrats in control of the House, two-and-a-half weeks into a government shutdown with no end in sight, and the president has delivered a prime speech to the country, declaring the urgent need to fund his boondoggle of a solution to a problem that’s partly fiction and partly a mess for which he’s directly responsible.

Welcome to the surreal absurdity of American politics in 2019.

Since my sweeping dismissal of the president’s case is bound to raise hackles on the Trump-loving right, let me lay my cards on the table: I do not support open borders. I consider any public figure or pundit who does to be profoundly unserious at the levels of both practical politics …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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