Trump Wall Push gets more Support

Image credit: Mother Jones

While several prominent Republicans, such as House Republican whip Steve Scalise, Senior Senate Republican Lindsey Graham, and even Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have stood strong with President Trump on securing wall funding, liberal outlets point blame on the president. The latest polls claim that Americans are growing more and more frustrated with President Trump over the government shutdown, however president continues his push for securing border wall funding.

As for the wall, which was one of the central promises of Trump’s presidential campaign that is now at the heart of the shutdown, both polls showed an increase in support since this time last year. The ABC poll said support had increased from 34 to 42 per cent, while the CNN poll had it going up from 35 to 39 per cent.

Those numbers are deeply entrenched along party lines, with the ABC poll showing 87 per cent of Republicans now supporting a wall, having jumped 16 percentage points in a year. CNN have Republican support at 81 per cent. Both polls have nine in 10 Democrats opposing the wall.

President Trump is likely to seize on the polling about the wall, having spent the past week – including an address to the nation from the Oval Office – alerting the public that there is an immigration crisis on the southern border, with criminals and drugs pouring into the country. Democrats have accused the president of “misinformation and malice” over his stance.

Mr Trump has reportedly told advisers he sees the shutdown as a win for him. But as the pressure increases on the president to find a solution to the shutdown, his frustration is clear. Democrats have stood firm in saying they will not sign off the president’s request for $5.7bn (£4.4bn) in wall funding as part of any legislation to open the government, offering $1.3bn in general border security funding and accusing Mr Trump of throwing a “temper tantrum” about the wall.

Mr Trump said in a Fox News Channel interview late on Saturday that he had “no idea” whether he could get a deal with house speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the border wall “immoral”. He said he was still considering whether to officially declare a national emergency on the border, which would give him powers to direct funds to the wall without congressional approval.

Senior Senate Republican Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Mr Trump, said the president was not giving in on his demands for a wall. Mr Graham said he encouraged Mr Trump during a telephone conversation on Sunday to reopen government for a period of weeks to try to negotiate a deal with Democrats that would break the impasse.

“I tried to see if we could open up the government for a limited period of time to negotiate a deal,” the South Carolina Republican said. “The president says, ‘Let’s make a deal, then open up the government.’ Nancy Pelosi says even if you opened up the government I wouldn’t fund a wall.”

“What is he supposed to do? Just give in. He’s not going to give in,” Mr Graham said.

On Sunday, the Virginia Democratic senator Mark Warner told CNN’s State of the Union: “More border security? Let’s have at it. But while we’re opening the debate, let’s open the government.”

The assessment from Mr Graham suggested the shutdown could last for weeks longer, inflicting additional financial pain on the 800,000 federal workers who have been idled or required to work without pay for the duration.

Unscheduled absences among federal airport security screeners jumped on Sunday. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency responsible for airport security screening, said unscheduled absences among its employees rose to 7.7 per cent from 5.6 per cent on Saturday. The rate is more than double the 3.2 per cent rate experienced a year ago.

Mr Graham said he thinks Mr Trump is willing to accept the level of wall funding he is seeking, along with some immigration measures Democrats might find acceptable, such as helping immigrants who were illegally brought to the US as children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca). The programme, which began under Barack Obama is something Mr Trump has ended, leading to legal challenges.

Mr Trump has said that while he is interested in pursuing a broader overhaul of the immigration system, he first wants to hear what the Supreme Court has to say about the group of immigrants known as “Dreamers”.

The Dreamers issue was at the heart of a shutdown last year in which Mr Trump’s demands for wall spending also stopped a deal. Democrats are reluctant to tie the Daca issue to handing over wall funding.

Sitting in the White House over the weekend, Mr Trump has tried to push blame onto the Democrats – claiming they are on holiday. In fact congress was not sitting for the weekend, with many members leaving Washington on Friday ahead of a snow storm.

“I’m in the White House, waiting,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!”

As for a national emergency declaration, which could include taking money from disaster relief funds to construct the wall, Democrats oppose it. Many Republicans are wary, too, fearing its use by a future Democratic president. Mr Trump has spoken about the declaration a number of times, but says he will not do it “right now”.

“We don’t want it to come down to a national emergency declaration,” said House Republican whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “Clearly the president’s got authority under the law, but he’s said he doesn’t want it to come to that. He wants congress to solve this problem. Congress needs to solve this problem.”

Despite assertions from the president and others about his “absolute right” to declare an emergency, it would bring a number of legal challenges.

Even though it appears the Democrats are throwing every curve ball they can at the President, Trump seems to be standing strong. Do you think the Democrats are being unfair and childish?


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