President Donald Trump has not had a good first 100 days in office. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 45 percent of all respondents say his administration is off to a poor start.
It’s hard to argue with those findings, given that the Trump administration does not have any major legislative accomplishments to date, nor has Trump managed to expand his base beyond those who voted for him.
Worst of all, Trump could cap off his first 100 days with a government shutdown at the end of the week. Republicans initially kicked the can on the budget at the end of 2016 so they would have more leverage with President Trump in office. Now, the can has run out of road and Republicans still can’t come up with a consensus budget.
The White House is insisting on funding for its border wall in any budget deal, but Democrats are holding firm in opposition to it. Many Republicans don’t want to pay for Trump’s border wall either. And among the general public, the wall remains unpopular. Combine all that together and dying on this hill seems like a stupid idea politically.
The futility of going to the mat for the border wall finally dawned on Team Trump earlier this week. As of writing, the Trump administration has dropped its demand that the wall be funded in the budget deal, announcing that they will instead seek to fund the wall in September when it’s time to agree on next year’s budget.
Republicans sure are experts at kicking the can, aren’t they?
Not only would the politics of stumping for a border wall look bad, the idea of a government shutdown for any reason would be a loser for Republicans. Republicans after all control both the executive and legislative branches. It will be impossible to blame Democrats if the government shuts down.
Instead, it would be viewed as just another example of Republicans not knowing how to govern. For a party that complained a lot over the past eight years, they have thus far produced very few solutions to the problems they touted under Barack Obama. The American Health Care Act went down in flames, tax reform is still a looming question mark, Trump’s travel ban has been hamstrung in the court system, and now the border wall has been punted, too.
If Republicans want to avoid further damage to their credibility, they’ll take a pass on a government shutdown. The ideological fights can wait until later in the year.