Politics is all about expectations; and as President Trump sat down last evening at the Resolute Desk expectations in Washington and across the country were running rampant.
For some they expected the president to declare there is a national emergency at the southern border, lock and load the military, ignore the will of Congress (and appropriation norms) and start laying those "Build The Wall"! That didn't happen.
For others, they expected Trump to claim there is a humanitarian and national security crisis (which he did) and that Democrats would see the error of their #resistance and give the president the $5 billion (which they did not).
For Trump, he expected to be any place else but behind that desk.
Despite everyone's expectations, the truth of the moment could not be avoided: there is no crisis at our borders (except the one he's creating), there are no terrorists overrunning those borders (ok, there were six in the first half of 2018), and the president accomplished the one thing he needed to do: say nothing new. And he didn't. Almost. After all, for most of the past week his associates and media friends have been pounding the “national emergency” talking point so there really was no need for Trump to expand beyond that. In a monotone voice and at times stern demeanor the president spoke about drugs and criminals but made no reference to the terrorist he claims are pouring over the border. In a curious moment, however, Trump did say that Mexico would “indirectly” pay for the wall. What? Is that like indirectly paying my gas bill?
As we all know, talk is cheap; and in this case about $5.6 billion cheap.
But here'a another truth that's painfully expensive: federal workers are still not back at work, are not receiving a paycheck this week and will only see their circumstances grow more dire as Trump offhandedly remarks the shutdown could go on for "months" or 'years". That's not a negotiating position, that's immoral.