Con­gress heads to­ward post-elec­tion ‘wall’ fight

Trump takes vic­tory lap

Arab Times - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON Oct 13, (AP): Con­gress is head­ing to­ward a post­elec­tion show­down over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s wall along the US-Mex­ico bor­der, as GOP lead­ers sig­nal they’re will­ing to en­gage in hard­ball tac­tics that could spark a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down and the pres­i­dent revs up midterm crowds for the wall, a cen­ter­piece of his 2016 cam­paign and a top White House pri­or­ity.

Trump is promis­ing vot­ers at ral­lies across the coun­try that Repub­li­cans will bring tougher bor­der se­cu­rity in cam­paign speeches that echo those that pro­pelled him to of­fice two years ago. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised a “big fight” over the bor­der wall money and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., has not ruled out a mini-shut­down as GOP lead­ers look to help Trump “get what he’s look­ing for” on the wall.

Repub­li­cans steered clear of shut­down pol­i­tics ahead of the Nov 6 midterm elec­tion. They know vot­ers have soured on gov­ern­ment dys­func­tion, hold low views of Con­gress and are un­likely to re­ward Repub­li­cans - as the party in con­trol of Con­gress and the White House - if post of­fices, na­tional parks and other ser­vices are shut­tered.

GOP lead­ers struck a deal with Democrats ear­lier this year to fund most of the gov­ern­ment into next year. They pre­sented their case to Trump in a White House meet­ing in Septem­ber – com­plete with pho­tos of the bor­der wall un­der con­struc­tion. Trump, who pre­vi­ously warned he would not sign an­other big bud­get bill into law with­out his bor­der funds, qui­etly signed the leg­is­la­tion be­fore the start of the new bud­get year Oct 1.

Left un­done, how­ever, is the por­tion of the gov­ern­ment that funds the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which over­sees the bor­der, and a few other agen­cies. They’re now run­ning on stop­gap funds set to ex­pire Dec 7.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took a vic­tory lap in Ohio on Fri­day, tout­ing a “re­ally his­toric week for Amer­ica” that be­gan with the in­stal­la­tion of his sec­ond Supreme Court jus­tice and con­cluded with the re­lease of an Amer­i­can de­tained in Tur­key.

Joc­u­lar and boast­ful, Trump barn­stormed - in what was a barn on a ru­ral fair­grounds - for Ohio’s gu­ber­na­to­rial and con­gres­sional can­di­dates, but, as he of­ten does, spent much of the hour-plus speech tout­ing his own track record. He ze­roed in on the past week, which many White House aides be­lieve was one of the most suc­cess­ful of his pres­i­dency.

Trump drew loud cheers from the crowd for se­cur­ing the re­lease of pas­tor An­drew Brun­son, swag­ger­ing that “we bring a lot of peo­ple back.” Af­ter Brun­son was sen­tenced to three years in a Turk­ish pri­son on ter­ror charges, Tur­key’s gov­ern­ment quickly freed him to re­turn to the US.

Trump touted at length the tri­als of Brett Ka­vanaugh, who was seated on the Supreme Court this week af­ter a con­tentious con­fir­ma­tion process that fea­tured mul­ti­ple ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct, which he de­nied, and bit­ter par­ti­san bat­tles. But Trump ar­gued that the bruis­ing process, which ig­nited a soul-search­ing na­tional con­ver­sa­tion about sex­ual as­sault, was “a tremen­dous ser­vice” for his party.

“We are more en­er­gized as Repub­li­cans than ever be­fore,” Trump told the crowd bun­dled against the chill on the out­skirts of the Cincin­nati re­gion. “Did he get treated badly or un­fairly or what? Hor­ri­ble.”

Re­turn­ing to a re­cent in­cen­di­ary talk­ing point, Trump deemed the Democrats who op­posed Ka­vanaugh “a mob,” but said they would not stop him from po­ten­tially, he guessed, ap­point­ing up to four more jus­tices to the court through­out his time in of­fice - for a to­tal of six, or two-thirds of the court’s nine jus­tices.

“Repub­li­cans be­lieve in the rule of law, not the rule of the mob,” Trump said. “Th­ese are bad peo­ple. We can’t let his hap­pen to our coun­try.”



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