Trump can't even convince right-wing extremists to stick with him anymore.
Trump's obsession with a border wall was originally intended to appeal to his racist, anti-immigrant base. But as the government shutdown drags on, even the hardcore anti-immigrant racists are complaining that the wall is a dumb idea.
"It's disappointing to see what he's doing now," RJ Hauman, government relations director at Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Politico. FAIR is an anti-immigrant hate group with ties to white supremacists, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups across the country.
"We're obviously a little frustrated because so much focus has been on barriers, walls and fences," Chris Chmielenski, director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, told Politico. NumbersUSA has been criticized by the SPLC and other groups for its anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Trump demanded a government shutdown in December 2018 unless Congress paid a $5.7 billion ransom so Trump could build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Since the shutdown started, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed multiple bills to reopen the government — without funding for a border wall — only to be rebuffed by Trump and cowardly Republicans in the Senate.
"The president really has no intention of caving on this," Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told Politico after meeting with Trump and others in the White House. Despite being listed as an anti-immigrant hate group known to associate itself with white nationalists, the group was nonetheless invited to meet with Trump at the White House to discuss the standoff over the shutdown.
Like other critics of Trump's wall, these groups complain that the wall is too simplistic and won't actually change much about the status quo on immigration.
Unlike other critics, however, these groups think the other problem is that the wall isn't racist or anti-immigrant enough.
The hate groups would prefer to see Trump abandon his desire for a physical wall and focus on other anti-immigrant measures that they think might have a better chance of passing Congress. And they fear Trump's obsession with a wall will lead to him making a deal with Democrats on issues like DACA protections, which the hate groups oppose.
Most Americans, however, reject both Trump's anti-immigrant extremism and his wall. They also consistently blame Trump and congressional Republicans for the shutdown, and put far more trust in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to handle the shutdown than Trump.
Thus far, Trump has failed to grapple with this basic reality. All he's done so far is grandstand and suggest bogus proposals in bad faith.
Trump's unhealthy obsession with a border wall is damaging America. Some 800,000 federal workers are not receiving paychecks, FBI agents warn of national security dangers, air travel is less safe, and the nation's food supply is not being inspected.
Trump is becoming increasingly isolated. The general public — and now even some of his most ardent allies — are all turning away from him. Pelosi has denied Trump use of the House chamber to deliver the State of the Union address until the shutdown is over.
The myth of Trump as a dealmaker is quickly unraveling.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.