In the ongoing saga of the government shutdown initiated by Donald Trump back in December — now officially the longest in US history — Trump has been desperate to find a way out of the deadlock without looking like the loser we all know he’s going to end up being in this situation.
To that end, Trump tried on Tuesday to use an end-around he once used to bypass Paul Ryan and negotiate with the Freedom Caucus, the descendants of the Tea Party caucus of the Obama presidency: Meet with influential and powerful members of the majority in order to bypass those he considers unreasonable, so he can make a deal with them without having to deal with brokers like Nancy Pelosi — who has made absolutely clear that he’s not getting money for a border wall in this fight.
According to Politico, Trump invited a handful of powerful centrist Democrats to meet with him at the White House today in hopes of bypassing Pelosi and perhaps dividing the caucus, in order to send those who he negotiated with back to the House with new offers or perhaps even demands that Pelosi would then ideally capitulate to.
Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, everyone he invited was far too familiar with his methods so far in his presidency. They knew his real purpose was to get them on the White House grounds so that photographers would snap their picture next to the President — that he could then characterize as division among Democrats, in an effort to undermine the House Speaker’s authority and make it seem like there was major disagreement in the House.
So which Democrats showed up? Well, none of them. Not a single one.
It was a pretty embarrassing failure, especially given the nonchalance with which Democrats shrugged off Trump’s transparent ploy. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland laughed outright when he addressed reporters this morning:
Is anybody surprised that the president is trying to get votes wherever he can get votes? We are totally united, totally.”
Not only was Trump publicly spurned, but one of the invited lawmakers even sent his spokesperson out to give a statement, saying that he “welcomes the opportunity to talk with the President about border security, as soon as the government is reopened.”
That would be a good start.
Featured image via screen capture