Trump gave in to what Nancy Pelosi and Democrats have demanded all along: ending the government shutdown before even beginning negotiations on border wall funding.
A defeated Trump announced Friday afternoon that he will support a bill to temporarily end his weeks-long, unpopular government shutdown, without funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Despite his earlier bravado in vowing not to "cave" on the wall funding, Trump finally did exactly that — and did exactly what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told him to do, which was to stop holding government funding hostage to his wall.
"We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government," Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference.
He added that "at this time," he will not exercise the "powerful alternative" that he was rumored to be considering. He was likely referring to the speculation that he might declare a national emergency — and even steal funds from disaster areas like Puerto Rico — in order to fund the wall without the consent of Congress.
Unable to stop himself, Trump also rambled for several minutes about the alleged importance of the border wall, which will not receive any funding in this legislation and which has been strongly rejected by both Congress and the majority of Americans. Even the anti-immigrant hate groups who usually egg Trump on have complained that his wall is a stupid idea.
The deal will reopen the government for three weeks as the White House and congressional leaders continue to negotiate on border security and other issues. If approved by Congress, this deal will end the longest government shutdown in history.
Prior to the Rose Garden announcement, even Fox News admitted: "It's difficult to see this as anything but the president giving in to Democrats on Capitol Hill."
The deal comes one day after Republican senators sided with Trump and rejected a House-passed bill to reopen the government.
The Trump shutdown started in late December when Trump threw a tantrum demanding $5.7 billion for a border wall. In a televised meeting shortly before the shutdown began, Trump told Democratic leaders he would be "proud" to own a shutdown if Democrats refused to give in to his ransom demands.
As the Trump shutdown dragged on, its impact became increasingly dire. Air travel has become less safe, federal workers have been denied their paychecks, and national security has been weakened — all because of Trump's unhealthy obsession with a border wall.
But under the unwavering leadership of Pelosi, Democrats refused to be bullied by Trump's increasingly unhinged bluster. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed numerous bills to reopen the government, only to be rebuffed by Trump and his obedient lackeys in the Senate.
The position from Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was consistent from the start: End the Trump shutdown with a clean funding bill, and only then will Congress engage in negotiations about border security.
At the end of his remarks, Trump once again threatened to take federal workers hostage and shut down the government in three weeks if he does not get the border wall he so desperately wants.
But if he does, he'll have to face Pelosi and Democrats again — and it probably won't end well for him.
In addition to maintaining a firm stance against funding for a wall, Pelosi engaged in a high-stakes negotiation around Trump's State of the Union address. Pelosi threatened to deny Trump use of the House chamber for the address while the government was shut down. Trump tried to force himself on Congress anyway, but then Pelosi made the denial official — and Trump relented, foreshadowing his caving on the shutdown.
The American people had much more confidence in Pelosi to handle the shutdown than Trump's — and in the end, they picked the right person to trust.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.