Trump’s de­mands re­veal in­se­cu­rity

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As shut­down con­tin­ues, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s in­se­cu­ri­ties pose more of a prob­lem than our na­tional se­cu­rity.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump nod­ded his head in front of the tele­vi­sion cam­eras.

“I can re­late,” he said.

Trump was re­fer­ring to the hun­dreds of thou­sands of gov­ern­ment work­ers who won’t re­ceive pay­checks due to the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down. Nearly three weeks into one of the long­est gov­ern­ment shut­downs in U.S. his­tory, our pres­i­dent has threat­ened to drag it out for “a very long pe­riod of time — months or even years.”

No, Mr. Trump, you can’t re­late. You’ve never stopped re­ceiv­ing pay­checks ear­marked for ba­sic liv­ing es­sen­tials such as rent, food and med­i­cal care. You’ve never lived pay­check to pay­check like most Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing me. You sim­ply can’t re­late.

You’ve never had to fran­ti­cally check your bank ac­count to make sure your mea­ger pay­check was di­rectly de­posited be­fore your mort­gage was au­to­mat­i­cally with­drawn. You’ve never had to play “beat the bank” to make sure your pal­try pay­check got into your check­ing ac­count to cover the small­est of monthly bills.

Let me be clear. You. Can’t. Re­late. Our pres­i­dent has been pre­tend­ing he can “re­late” to most Amer­i­cans’ daily lives since he took of­fice two years ago. Wait, check that. Ac­tu­ally, he’s been pre­tend­ing since he be­gan cam­paign­ing for the Oval Of­fice, back when he be­gan promis­ing Amer­i­cans he would build the tallest, grand­est, might­i­est bor­der wall that Mex­ico would pay for.

Re­mem­ber that pop­u­lar lie? It helped get him elected into of­fice, among other lies that Amer­i­cans badly wanted to be­lieve. And still do. (By the way, dur­ing my re­cent va­ca­tion trip to Mex­ico, I couldn’t find any Mex­i­cans will­ing to pay for this bor­der wall. They merely laughed at the id­iocy of the idea, just as we should do.)

The phrase, “Wait, check that,” has be­come our na­tion’s daily mantra for any­thing Trump says pub­licly, pri­vately or via Twit­ter. Trump lies as of­ten as he tweets. Sure, it’s be­come a na­tional punch­line, but it’s a sad re­al­ity when you se­ri­ously think about it.

And yet we’re ex­pected to ad­dress him as “Mr. Pres­i­dent.” The per­son who’s sup­posed to be our na­tion’s ut­most role model has be­come its ut­most fool.

Iron­i­cally, Trump can’t re­late to this fact ei­ther. He’s in chronic de­nial about his wrong­do­ing, just like a stub­born child.

This re­minds me of some­thing that my fi­ancee’s 19-year-old son told us after his first se­mes­ter at col­lege. “No one tells me ‘no’ here,” he said with a shrug, try­ing to ex­plain his strug­gles to jug­gle his time, his classes and his work­load.

No one has told Trump “no” enough times in his life, not only since he’s been pres­i­dent. Now, though, he’s hear­ing the word “no” again and again from con­gres­sional Democrats who op­pose his child­ish de­mand for $5.7 bil­lion for a bor­der wall.

What did he do when he was told “no” ear­lier this week by Demo­cratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer? He stormed out of the brief meet­ing, later post­ing on Twit­ter, “Bye-bye.”

Once again, Trump’s po­lit­i­cal fa­ther fig­ure, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, was left with dam­age con­trol in the wake of the shame­ful sit­u­a­tion that took place in the White House Sit­u­a­tion Room. Once again, Pence looked like the em­bar­rassed par­ent of a spoiled child who made a scene in pub­lic.

Let’s face it, our gov­ern­ment has felt like it’s been on shut­down since Trump took of­fice. The word “bi­par­ti­san” has been a run­ning joke since day one of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. And it’s been just one of end­less jokes that in­volve our coun­try’s com­man­derin-chief.

“By the time of this broad­cast, we’re ei­ther in a brand new state of emer­gency or the same one we’ve been in since Novem­ber of 2016,” quipped Stephen Col­bert, host of “The Late Show,” Tues­day night after Trump’s first tele­vised ad­dress from the Oval Of­fice.

“It was his­toric,” joked late-night host Jimmy Kim­mel about Trump’s fact-chal­lenged na­tional speech. “Rarely does the pres­i­dent of the United States in­ter­rupt prime-time tele­vi­sion to warn us about a com­pletely made-up thing.”

Na­tional se­cu­rity cer­tainly isn’t a com­pletely made-up thing. But cre­at­ing na­tional para­noia or hys­te­ria through po­lit­i­cal fear­mon­ger­ing ap­pears made-up to me. Trump’s bor­der wall de­mand is more about his per­sonal in­se­cu­rity as a man than it is about our na­tion’s in­se­cu­rity as a peo­ple.

The only wall we should be con­cerned with at this point is the one against the backs of all those gov­ern­ment work­ers who may not be re­ceiv­ing pay­checks due to this po­lit­i­cal piss­ing match of a shut­down.

In that tele­vised ad­dress, our grim-faced pres­i­dent read from a teleprompter, warn­ing Amer­i­cans about a “grow­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis” along our south­ern bor­der. Once again, facts — those pesky things that Trump avoids like the truth — show a dif­fer­ent story.

The dis­turb­ing truth is that our pres­i­dent is a “grow­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.” He doesn’t know what it’s like to be truly hu­man or hu­mane, be­cause he has never had to ex­pe­ri­ence it, let alone ex­em­plify it. He sim­ply can’t re­late.

Be­cause of this, I don’t blame him as much as I blame those red­blooded, blue-hat­ing Amer­i­cans who should know bet­ter. You know who you are. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe noth­ing that Trump says or does will ever bother you be­cause you be­lieve he has your back.

He doesn’t have your back. Nor does he have your best in­ter­ests at heart.

He doesn’t care about those halted pay­checks of gov­ern­ment work­ers. Or about your pay­checks. Why? Be­cause he hasn’t had to care through­out his pam­pered, priv­i­leged life.

This is a mat­ter of fact, not opin­ion.

Can you re­late to this? I hope so. I’m sure that Trump will never re­late to this truth. Or to any truth he hasn’t cre­ated in his mind.

JERRY DAVICH

CAR­LOS BARRIA/AP

Jerry Davich

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