Trump Is Up Against the Wall

You must watch this.

May I add that I love Pence sitting there looking like he wishes he were anywhere else.

This live television, um, meeting was a train wreck. I don’t know whose idea it was to air it live; I suspect the White House. Pelosi kept saying that they needed to be negotiating privately and not on live television. And I suspect much robust fact checking is going on right now and will be available in an hour or two.

This is about the infamous Wall. Trump kept saying that a “tremendous” amount of the wall has already been built, one of his frequent lies that caused Glenn Kessler at WaPo to create a new rating — the Bottomless Pinnochio. He waved a couple of pieces of paper around and claimed they said that the wall, where it exists, is totally effective. I’m sure that’s being fact checked as well.

Basically, he simultaneously claimed his wall has already been proved to be a “tremendous” success and that he has accomplished border security, but that nasty bad terrorists are still pouring in so he needs a bunch of billion dollars to build a wall.

The discussion went nowhere because Trump conflates “border security” with “wall.” Only a wall will do. Chuck and Nancy both said that there could be a border security bill passsed right now with plenty of votes in the House and Senate; there was no need to shut down the government over it. But he wasn’t going to get the whatever billion he’s asking for to build the wall that he says is already tremendously built.

Trump said he’d be proud to shut down the government to get his wall.

In a testy Oval Office exchange with the two top congressional Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump made clear he would be “proud” to shut down the government in less than two weeks if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall.

“I’ll be the one to shut it down. I will take the mantle. And I will shut it down for border security,” Trump told House and Senate Democratic leaders as Vice President Pence sat by stoically.

Trump also floated a plan to have the military build the wall, an idea even Republicans are squeamish about.

This just up at the New York Times, regarding using the military to build the wall (emphasis added:

It was not clear what Mr. Trump was referring to. American troops he dispatched to the border on the eve of midterm congressional elections as part of what the president called an effort to head off a migrant “invasion” have put up concertina wire along existing fences and barriers, but the administration has yet to spend much of the $1.3 billion Congress approved for border security last year. Under restrictions put in place by Congress, none of that money could be used to construct a new, concrete wall of the sort the president has said is vital.

The president does not have the legal authority to spend money appropriated for one purpose on another task, such as wall-building.

There’s going to be some interesting fallout over this. Meanwhile, it’s been announced that John Kelly will stay on as chief of staff until well into January because they don’t have another candidate for the job. So much winning.

Update: Here’s another bit debunked:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday cited the recent apprehension of ten suspected terrorists to bolster his case for building a wall along the southern border, implying that a porous border with Mexico is leaving the country vulnerable to national security threats.

But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees security and law enforcement at U.S. borders and ports of entry, was unable to provide data to directly substantiate that claim.



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