Donald Trump sent the U.S. government into an all-time record shutdown after rejecting an offer for Democrats for $1.6 billion toward his border wall, and the hardball negotiating tactic seems to have backfired on a president who bragged about his ability to make deals.
As Buzzfeed News reported, Congress reached a tentative deal to keep the government open and avoid a second shutdown in a matter of weeks, but it gives Trump even less money for the border wall than the first offer he had rejected in December, forcing the shutdown. The report noted that the bill is on track to pass Congress before the Friday deadline for another shutdown, and Trump has signaled that he will not veto it this time.
But in doing so, Trump may be admitting defeat in the struggle against congressional Democrats — and a blow to his self-promoted image as a master dealmaker.
“In December Trump demanded $5.7 billion for 200 miles of border barriers, and triggered a shutdown when Congress agreed to only $1.6 billion for 65 miles of barriers. The new deal contains less than what was on the table originally — $1.375 billion for 55 miles of barriers along the Rio Grande,” the report noted.
Donald Trump will be under pressure from Republicans to sign the bill, the report noted, as they are weary of another shutdown after taking the majority of the blame the first time around.
There will likely be other pressures to keep Trump from forcing another shutdown. This week, the flight attendants unions said that it would go on strike if the government entered a second shutdown. As The Hill reported, the union chief said the nation’s air travel industry was hit hard by the first shutdown as TSA staff and air traffic controllers were forced to work without pay, and they cannot afford a second shutdown.
“We already stretched the system to a breaking point before, this would be day 36 on Feb. 16 and we would immediately be in a crisis, and so we are making sure that doesn’t happen,” Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in an interview on Hill.TV.
Donald Trump already appears to be shaping the deal as a victory for himself, however. At a rally in El Paso this week, he plastered the arena with signs reading “Finish the Wall,” repainting the situation as having already started the wall despite no construction as he had originally promised on the 2016 campaign trail.