President Donald Trump, logic master, has reportedly told aides that a government shutdown would help him politically.
Why might a bankrupt, unable to function government benefit a president with historically low favorability ratings? Excellent question. Apparently, Trump seems to think a government shutdown would make him seem tough on immigration.
In September, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi proudly announced that they had struck a deal with Trump to protect DACA recipients. The deal, which excluded funding for his border wall, scored Trump some much-needed press brownie points.
After the initial press praise high wore off, Trump apparently expressed concerned that he “look[ed] like the chump in the deal,” according to a new report from The Washington Post. Instead of appearing “weak” on immigration, the author of The Art of the Deal would rather have the government’s gears come grinding to a halt:
President Trump has told confidants that a government shutdown could be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.
Over the past 10 days, the president has also told advisers that it is important that he is seen as tough on immigration and getting money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two people who have spoken with him. He has asked friends about how a shutdown would affect him politically and has told several people he would put the blame on Democrats.
Trump has already publicly floated the idea of a “good” old fashioned government shutdown in May, before Congress extended the spending deadline to Dec. 8 in September. He didn’t get his wish then, but he might get it in the new year. House Republicans are expected to push a plan to extend the current funding deadline until Dec. 22, but budget talks have stalled.
Republicans, though, are wary of Trump’s border wall insistence—partly because they know Democrats could filibuster spending legislation. Senator Lindsay Graham, on of Trump’s favorite golfing pals, is not exactly stoked on the idea of a government shutdown. “We’d look like crazy people to shut down the government in light of all of our problems,” Graham told the Post.