Hurting the wrong people

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The visual that federal employees are having to use food pantries will be the lasting image of President Donald Trump’s partial government shutdown, now in its second month and showing no signs of resolution.

And, make no mistake, this is President Trump’s shutdown. He said so with the cameras rolling with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a meeting at the White House. He owned it then. He owns it now.

“If we don’t get what we want one way or the other … I will shut down the government, absolutely,” Trump said to Pelosi and Schumer during the Oval Office showdown. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security … So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it … I will take the mantle of shutting down. And I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

And, of course, he has since blamed Pelosi and Schumer for the shutdown in tweets and other public comments.

We’ve been encouraged by the number of businesses that have rallied for federal employees affected on the Island, specifically the Coast Guard members who protect our coastline at Station Menemsha.

J.B. Blau is offering credit at his Island restaurants. Trader Fred’s doing the same for the goods sold at his store. Vineyard Grocer is also helping out, while Mocha Mott’s offers free coffee. And the Patriot Boats are providing free rides across the Sound. Banks like Martha’s Vineyard Bank and Cape Cod 5 are doing their part by either suspending loan payments for Coasties or offering bridge loans to help them get through this period.

And now the police and fire departments in Edgartown are collecting gift cards for Coast Guard members. Cards of $20 or less are being accepted for gas, Stop & Shop, Walmart, and CVS. “It is our turn to help them and their families who have no income during the partial government shutdown,” the Facebook post from the Edgartown Police Department states.

What’s not so encouraging is that President Trump seems willing to dig his heels in. He offered a deal on Saturday that he knew wasn’t going to fly, offering temporary protection for so-called Dreamers against deportation in exchange for the $5.7 billion to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. — disingenuous, given that Dreamers are already protected thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He told the American people during his campaign for president that the wall would be built and Mexico would pay for it. Now he says, of course, he didn’t mean Mexico would write a check, even though, like ownership of the government shutdown, he said that on tape (and it was written on his campaign website).

When will Trump’s supporters hold him accountable for these egregious lies? Instead, they say all politicians lie, as if that should let him off the hook. Recent polls are promising that even his base is having a tough time supporting the shutdown.

Trump had two full years of a House and Senate controlled by the Republican party. During that time, he was unable to get support for the wall. What makes him think after losing the House in the midterm elections that he’s ever going to convince Pelosi and Schumer to support the wall?

What’s the endgame, President Trump?

The pettiness of both parties is out of control. Pelosi telling Trump that he’s not welcome to give his State of the Union address before Congress. Trump canceling a trip planned by Pelosi and other congressional leaders to Afghanistan aboard a military plane.

Trump’s rhetoric about liberal Democrats wanting open borders is absurd and insulting. Democrats have long advocated for sensible immigration reform, and in fact in December agreed on a bill with wide bipartisan support that Trump looked ready to sign until a far-right faction convinced him to dig in his heels on the wall.

Pelosi and Schumer can’t cave. It would set a dangerous precedent to allow the government to be held hostage by a president looking to get his way.

It’s time for the president and his supporters to realize that this is a losing proposition, and the people getting hurt are people who proudly serve their country. That’s not right.

End the shutdown. Open the government. And stop using American government workers as pawns in this stalemate.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Trump can’t cave. It would be a dangerous precedent for Pelosi and Schumer to use spite and hate and not give 5.7 billion as a small fraction of a 4 trillion budget. Besides if Trump caves he will be a one term President.

    • You’re correct. When George H.W. Bush said ‘read my lips, no new taxes’ people expected him to keep his promise. He didn’t and that’s part of why he became a one term President as it allowed H.Ross Perot to siphon off voters that would have supported him.

    • Trump blinked when Pelosi disinvited him to the House chamber for the State of the Union address. Then he caved. Pelosi told him no State of the Union in the House until the shutdown is over and he had to obey. He now says there will be no address until after the shutdown is over. Every American heard him brag that he was taking full responsibility for the shutdown. He said to Schumer’s face that he would not blame Schumer. He is a one-termPresident. You can’t hurt 800,000 people who work for the government, sending many to foodlines and relatives for help, and take full credit for it as brag… and be reelected. Americans are too smart to be fooled twice by the same tantruming man baby who couldn’t do what he promised (build a wall paid for by Mexico) when Repubs controlled the House and Senate for 2 years.

    • Every billion counts. 5.7 billion is not a small amount of anything, including dollars. The US $4,000,000,000,000. budget is spending money that that the US already owes. “The federal debt held by the public amounted to slightly over $15 trillion by the end of 2018, a sum equivalent to roughly 76 percent of the U.S. economy.” (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2018/12/13/the-hutchins-center-explains-federal-budget-basics/) Trump, who calls himself, “The King of Debt,” is great at spending money that either he does not have, or rightfully belong to others. He freely admits this, and labels this a personal strength. “The US tax payers and especially the middle class are simply collateral damage,” as stated in a post below. I must agree. As Trump himself does not pay taxes, he has no empathy for those of who do.

  2. Let’s be clear, Pelosi and Schumer are tired, worn out demigods that need to retire. We need new, independent leadership in this country that is more centrist with more balanced economic, social, and foreign policy points of view. This stalemate is all about power and egos on both sides of the aisle==the US tax payers and especially the middle class are simply collateral damage. So lets take the icing off the cake and really discuss the root cause(s) of the current circus in DC.

    • Don’t see how being a Russian satellite will give us independent leadership but as long as you’re being receptive, I’ve a bridge to sell.

    • FREDDYSCHOICE, did you mean, demigod, “a being with partial or lesser divine status, such as a minor deity, the offspring of a god and a mortal, or a mortal raised to divine rank.” Or, did you mean ‘demagogue,’ “a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument?”

    • As respectfully as I can manage, Madame Speaker owns Trump and the Senator is doing just fine, too.

      The circus as of January 25, 2019: 37 people and entities have now been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, including 6 associates of President Donald Trump: Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, and Roger Stone. Mueller has brought 199 total criminal charges in all.

  3. I have to admit , I taunted a conservative friend today ( yes, I have republican friends ) . # 7 I said– he said how about “Hillary and Obama’s crimes” ?
    Perhaps if we ever get a republican house and senate , they will investigate those obvious criminals, I said..
    I feel bad about picking on people like this. — Nahh– just kidding i don’t really, and you shouldn’t either.

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