“I can relate.” That was President Trump’s answer to a reporter’s January 6th question, “Mr. President, can you relate to the pain of federal workers who can’t pay their bills.” As the Trump Shutdown 3.0 enters one month territory and the nation remembers the contributions of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’d like to explore the validity of that remark. Please come along.
Trump continued that January 6th answer by saying the workers would adjust and that many were 100% in agreement with his actions. Unless you have an extremely liberal definition of the word “many” the latter was another flat out Trump lie and as to the former few if any federal workers can ask their father for a small million dollar loan (which in Trump’s case ended up being more like hundreds of millions – so much for the self-made man malarkey).
Saturday Trump wasted a little over ten minutes of my life with his speech from the White House. He started out with some rhetoric largely composed of recycled and long debunked lies. Then he put forth a “compromise proposal” to end the shutdown. It consisted of him getting everything he wants (typical toddler mentality) in exchange for temporarily correcting some of his errors which are currently winding their ways through the courts on what looks like a path to being overturned. (In plain English: nothing.) There were also a few provisions for things that should have been done long ago and that are areas of complete agreement.
Trump and I have a similar business education. I guess I missed the class where they taught the lesson that negotiating in the press was a proven winning strategy. Any union executive will tell you it is not! This appears to be a deal struck between Mike Pence, Jared Kushner and Mitch McConnell and it is dead on arrival in the Senate, let alone the House. While I have almost no respect for the intelligence of Pence and Kushner, I do regard McConnell as smart, (at least in the ways of Washington and in particular the Senate). McConnell will put the bill on the floor, let it go down to defeat and then can go back to Trump and either say “What’s next?” or now we will approve the House bills and override your veto if necessary. McConnell doesn’t care about Trump (perhaps quite the opposite) but he cares very dearly about his vulnerable in 2020 Senate majority.
Saturday’s speech had Stephen Miller of the Chia pet hair (fortunately short lived) written all over it. While it ran about ten minutes and contained a multitude of lies, Miller couldn’t find even a single sentence to express empathy for the government workers who are without paychecks. In fact ending the shutdown garnered only part of a sentence late in the speech. Makes you question Trump’s claim that he would only hire the best.
Trump justified the cancellation of Congressional delegations’ transportation with the shutdown. Interestingly he simultaneously authorized a military flight to take his wife Melania and their son Baron to Mar-a-Lago so that mother and child could spend some quality time together. Perhaps only the great Donald Trump can feel the pain of the federal workers, not his family. I’m certain a lot of federal workers’ families are sacrificing much more than a weekend junket to Florida.
That is not to say that the Trump family is not making any sacrifices during the shutdown. Word is that the White House servant staff has been cut down to only 29 workers. How many domestic servants does the average federal worker’s family have?
The inability to relate to what the average federal worker is going through extends well into Team Trump as evidenced by Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. He was recently quoted saying what a great deal the shutdown was for federal workers. He likened it to a paid vacation where they didn’t have to use annual leave time. He like fellow Trump “economic genius” Stephen Moore (currently the Heritage Foundation’s Chief Economist) always seems to wear a goofy grin even when discussing (a/k/a lying about) serious topics. I haven’t taken a survey but just from observation I don’t think too many federal employees think they are on a luxury vacation. I think Hassett and Trump’s attitudes may have much more to do with the inability to empathize and a fear of what they call the Deep State.
Trump also cancelled the American delegation going to the global economic conference in Davos. That actually makes some sense for an isolationist. However, I’m willing to wager that Trump’s motivation had much more to do with his ego than economic policy; if the “King” can’t go why send the “workers”?
The only sacrifice I see Trump making is that he apparently is not playing any golf. That of course is a gift to the integrity of the game.
When is Trump going to learn that the dominant attitude of the vast majority of Americans is similar to that of former Mexican President Vicente Fox who famously said, “I’m not going to pay for that (expletive deleted) wall.”?
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