President Donald Trump likes to brag about his faculty for deal–making. Everyone knows he makes the best deals. He even had someone else write a book about it. In fact, he’s so good at deal–making that he just shut down the entire U.S. government because he can.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, has another take on Trump’s political skills: “Negotiating with this White House is like negotiation with Jell-O—it’s next to impossible,” Schumer said, in a biting speech on the Senate floor on Saturday.
Lawmakers had regrouped at the Capitol to try to reach an agreement to end the government shutdown—via a short–term resolution if necessary—but judging by the tone of speeches delivered by both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, that’s going to be an uphill battle.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who promised an undocumented mother at a town hall last year that DACA protections would not be rescinded, self–righteously feigned outrage over the shutdown, predictably blaming Democrats, who don’t control the House, the Senate, or the White House.
“We do some crazy things in Washington,” Ryan whined, “but this is utter madness!”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who last December promised a vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by the end of January, invoked funding for military veterans, the poor, and children’s healthcare in his Democrat–bashing speech.
“And of course low–income families across America woke up today without the knowledge that their children’s healthcare is safe—all because the Democratic leader filibustered a bipartisan compromise that a majority of senators supported, and chose instead a government shutdown,” McConnell said.
Of course, Republicans—who, again, control both Congress and the White House—had plenty of time to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance for 8.9 million kids and 370,000 pregnant women. But then they wouldn’t have been able to claim that Democrats care more about undocumented immigrants than they do about kids when the government inevitably shut down.
In a statement on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi placed the blame for the shutdown squarely on Trump. “Happy anniversary, Mr. President,” she said. “Your wish came true. You wanted to shut down, the shutdown is all yours.”
Then, Schumer took his turn, outlining several failed attempts to negotiate with Republican leaders and the president, likening them at one point to Abbott and Costello.
“Unfortunately, the president and Republican leaders in Congress are like Abbott and Costello. The congressional leaders tell me to negotiate with President Trump. President Trump tells me to figure it out with Republican leaders.”
Schumer also criticized the president’s “intransigence,” adding that Trump “seems amenable to these compromises before completely switching positions and backing off.” And then the Senate minority leader likened Trump to Jell–O.
Which was an unfair comparison to some:
Trump, who was forced by the government shutdown to skip his $100,000 per couple Trump Victory Fund fundraiser and presidential anniversary party at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night, instead spent the day tweeting attacks at the Democrats.
“Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border,” he said in one tweet.
“This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. #DemocratShutdown,” he said in another.
But really, what does Trump care? As The Washington Post points out, whether in DC or in FL, he’s making money regardless:
By holding the event at his own club, Trump will be able to collect tens of thousands of dollars in fees for food, ballroom rental and other costs. In effect, he will have transformed his supporters’ political donations into revenue for his business.