GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Trump's tantrums and table-slapping over the shutdown as 'reasonable.'
By any objective standard, Trump's behavior during the longest government shutdown in history was erratic and childish. But House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently had the gall to defend Trump as "reasonable" during a weekend interview with Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press."
When asked if Trump would be willing to make a compromise with Democrats in order to get funding for an unpopular border wall, McCarthy said Trump "is the only one who has been reasonable in these negotiations."
But all available evidence shows Trump has been far from reasonable in any negotiations.
The entire shutdown began when Trump, egged on by far-right conservative media personalities, threw a tantrum demanding over $5 billion for his border wall. In a televised meeting with Democratic leaders, Trump boasted that he would be "proud" to shut down the government unless Democrats paid his ransom.
When Democratic leaders balked at being bullied into funding a wall no one wants, Trump went ahead and shut down the government.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in one of her first acts as leader of the Democratic House majority, passed legislation to reopen the government. Pelosi's stance, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was simple: Democrats would engage in negotiations on border security once the Trump shutdown was over.
Then, for more than 30 days, Republicans held the paychecks of 800,000 federal workers hostage, voting against every single bill to reopen the government. And at the same time, a very unreasonable Trump threatened to veto those funding bills should they pass.
In a mid-January meeting with congressional leaders, an angry Trump slammed his hands on the table and stormed off before talks could be completed.
Later, when Pelosi politely requested Trump think about postponing the State of the Union until after the shutdown ended, Trump lashed out at her. In a move that imperiled Pelosi's safety and the safety of American troops and allies, the Trump White House leaked details about a trip Pelosi and members of Congress were planning to take to Afghanistan to visit military leaders.
Finally, in a desperate attempt to end the shutdown on his terms, Trump pushed a sham proposal to temporarily extend legal protections for Dreamers — protections he himself rolled back — in return for funding for a border wall and unconscionably cruel changes to the immigration system. The bill was roundly rejected.
In the end, Trump caved and agreed to Pelosi's terms to end the shutdown and reopen the government, at least temporarily.
There was nothing reasonable about that.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.