Trump is frustrated that he can't just stomp his feet and end the shutdown.
As the Trump shutdown lingers, Trump himself is baffled that his insults, tantrums, and unpopular demands aren't working.
"We are getting crushed!" Trump told White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, according to the New York Times. Trump, who was reacting to unflattering news coverage of the shutdown, bellowed, "Why can't we get a deal?"
Trump may be understandably confused. For the past two years, he has relied on insulting congressional leaders and throwing childlike hissy fits in order to get his way. And when Trump lackeys like former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) were in charge of Congress, the GOP would acquiesce to whatever he demanded.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the new House majority refuse to be bullied and intimidated by Trump's amateur tactics. Though that hasn't stopped Trump from trying.
The shutdown began in December when Trump, in a televised meeting with Democratic leaders, said he would be "proud" to own a shutdown unless he received $5.6 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump stormed out of a subsequent meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) after Pelosi reiterated her stance against a wall.
Democrats have repeatedly passed bills to reopen the government, but every effort has been rejected by Trump and his chief accomplice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell (R-KY) refuses to allow a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate, going so far as to call such a vote "absolutely pointless."
All the while, Trump has undermined efforts by his own staff to come to a compromise. When Vice President Mike Pence went to the Democrats with an offer of $2.5 billion for a wall, rather than $5.6 billion, Trump rejected it hours after Democrats rejected it. Trump recently bragged that he would "never ever back down" from his demands about the wall.
Yet Trump wonders why he and his staff can't get a deal.
Beyond his intransigence, Trump regularly lobs insults at Democratic leaders. Since Trump began the shutdown, he has referred to Schumer as "Cryin' Chuck" four separate times on Twitter. He recently called the left "totally unhinged," and said "the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime."
Trump's lame tactics are failing to win over the minds of Democrats in Congress as he continues to lose the hearts of people across the country. Polls repeatedly show Americans place the blame for the shutdown at the feet of Trump and congressional Republicans.
And new polls show Trump losing support not just among independents, but also among his base. "For the first time, we saw a fairly consistent pattern of having his base showing evidence of a cracking," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, recently told NPR.
In the most recent show of strength, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump suggesting he reschedule the State of the Union address if the government continues to be shut down. Such a move would deny Trump the one thing he craves most: being in the spotlight on national television.
Trump "wants Democrats to come back to the table agreeing with his position on a wall, and he does not understand why they have not," reports the Times.
Trump's tantrums, insults, and outlandish demands always worked in the past. Trump is having difficulty adjusting to new congressional leadership that is willing to stand up for what is best for the country, and not simply give in to Trump's latest fit.
He better get used to it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.