GOP shouldn’t give in to Trump’s tantrum
A few days ago, my 19-month-old son, Nelson, threw a tantrum because his baby sister was holding a toy he wanted.
Any parent knows that if you give in to a toddler every time he pitches a fit, he’ll keep pitching fits to get whatever he wants. Sadly, House and Senate Republicans don’t understand that about our president.
The Senate on Dec. 19 voted unanimously — and how often does that happen?!? — to keep our government open; the House was poised to do the same. Then came the president’s tantrum over funding for his wall, and just as he had promised days earlier, he chose to shut down the government.
On Thursday, House Democrats’ first act in the majority was to pass responsible legislation reopening government. But suddenly what GOP leader Mitch McConnell deemed perfectly acceptable two weeks ago is no longer so, and President Trump’s tantrum continues.
It’s not even remotely reasonable; demanding a solid wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border is foolish.
The president doesn’t embrace reality, but maybe some Republicans in Congress still do. Most undocumented immigrants are people who have overstayed their visas. Most drugs entering the U.S. are smuggled in through legal points of entry. And undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native-born citizens.
Those aren’t opinions. They’re facts supported by data. But squalling toddlers don’t listen to facts — they just keep demanding their toys.
So as the president demands his toy, Americans have been made to suffer. Federal law enforcement agents have been forced to work without pay. Small business loans have been halted. Home mortgage applications have been slowed. Critical services have been stopped for farmers as they plan for the planting season. Our national parks stink of garbage and overflowing toilets.
Emily G., one of my constituents, told me her husband serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, so his pay wasn’t protected in this shutdown.
“My husband has been gone since September, and we sacrifice every day with pride for this country. I feel like we are a pawn in the president’s game for his border wall, and it feels terrible to know that our pay is in the crosshairs,” she said. “My husband’s 25-year commitment to the Coast Guard and our country should not be treated this way.”
Amen to that. This is not government of the people, by the people, for the people. This is chaos of Trump, by Trump, for Trump.
If we spend billions to placate him now, for what will he throw a tantrum next time? Repealing health care for millions of Americans? Further dismantling our environmental protections? More cozying up to murderous dictators? Candy for dinner? (Oh, wait, that last one is Nelson again — or is it?)
No, we can’t make policy decisions based on placating a toddler. It’s up to the adults to make the adult decisions.
Let’s do the adult, responsible thing and reopen our government. Let’s not allow the president to hold hostage the services and assistance Americans pay for and deserve. Let’s force him to embrace reality and act his age.
Rep. Eric Swalwell represents California’s 15th Congressional District, in the East Bay, and co-chairs the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Follow him on Twitter at @RepSwalwell. To comment, submit your letter to the editor at SFChronicle.com/letters.