As you read this, nearly half-a-million federal workers are being forced to work without pay, and another 380,000 workers have been furloughed, also without pay.
The Associated Press and hundreds of other news organizations have spotlighted many of these employees, many in Colorado and metro Aurora, whose lives are being seriously upended by President Donald Trump’s shut down of the government over funding for his oft-promised border wall.
In the almost two years that Trump has been president, he and his Republican allies have amassed a staggering list of foul and often dangerous mistakes. Trump tried to ban Muslim immigrants, and congressional Republicans defended him. He tried to rewrite U.S. immigration law, and Republican allies looked the other way. Trump empowered a bevy of stooge and and stunningly incompetent cabinet members and top administrators, and he then worked to publicly insult and undermine them, only to replace them with equally toady misfits. All the while, Republican leaders in Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Colorado congressmen Scott Tipton, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators such as Cory Gardner, Orrin Hatch and Ron Paul have either turned a blind eye to Trump’s incompetence, or they have been outright complicit in his presidential carny act.
The most abysmal part of the entire Trump charade is the president’s prolific and unbridled lying. Anathema to telling the truth, Trump’s legendary lies regularly defy reality, just as they have this week when speaking and tweeting about the government shut-down he caused and prolongs.
Republicans, allowing him to erupt public deceits like a dependable White House geyser, have become the Party of Mendacity, with Trump being hailed as the liar in chief. The problem is so pervasive and so normalized that it is surreal to anyone who has ever served in in the government or professionally observed it.
So when Trump rolls out lie after lie about Democrats and shut down, ignore him.
“This is only about the Dems not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win,” Trump tweeted. He insists the impasse in the Senate is not about a useless and dangerous border wall that he promised his loyal misguided base, along with the abandoned promise that Mexico would pay for the monstrosity.
Democrats and most of the country have from the beginning of his campaign made clear that wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on a Mexican border wall is an idea so outrageously stupid that it’s worth fighting valiantly against.
Nobody wants Trump’s wall other than Trump and a dwindling minority of American voters. About 70 percent of the country polled earlier this month said Trump’s wall is not a priority. The same 28 percent who support Trump support his wall, even when U.S. taxpayers are forced to pay for the boondoggle.
The idea is so lame that even Republican Senators, who control the Senate, can’t muster the votes to force through the funding.
Unhinged and unchecked, Trump has drawn a line in the quicksand enveloping his presidency and declared that he will keep the US Government shut down unless Democrats agree to join resistant Republicans and fund another $5 billion toward Trump’s folly.
Doubling down on his Twitter extortion, Trump said Friday he would entirely shut down the Mexican border if he doesn’t get his way.
But worse, Trump has decided to gamble with the lives of more than three-quarters of a million federal workers, many of who live paycheck to paycheck, as do many Americans. Federal workers employed by contractors are not only unemployed by the shut-down, they may never get a paycheck from the time lost.
As a marginal reality-TV personality, Trump was a forgettable and irrelevant oddity, but as an American president, he is an unparalleled debacle.
The jig is up for Trump and Republicans in the House, where Democrats are now days away from assuming control. Ousted House Republicans with just hours left of their lame-duck tenures are no help to the nation right now.
The country must wait until next week when Democrats take control of House, and immediately pass a stop-gap spending measure. The Senate must do the same. Set aside the wall issue, re-open the government, and squabble about it later.
If Trump refuses to sign the stop-gap measure, Congress can and must override him and re-open the government by itself. The nation is not at risk without a border wall, in fact experts have unwaveringly said the wall could increase security risks to the United States.
The weeks ahead bode ill for Trump and his associates as their prior deceit, obstruction and likely corruption is exposed by an exhaustive FBI investigation and renewed House inquiries. Republicans can’t ignore the legal and political doom about to engulf Trump. They can easily see that exacerbating it with a prolonged shutdown can only hurt the nation and their party.
Congress must look away from that forthcoming political tsunami and do the decent, adult and responsible thing by forcing Trump to reopen the federal government with a stop-gap spending bill, or step around him to get the job done.