Build­ing a wall, and the shut­down

A prom­ise to build a wall on the south­ern bor­der de­fined Trump’s can­di­dacy, and he’s not back­ing down

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By David A. Keene

Say what one wants about Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump, but he is a man who makes every ef­fort to keep his prom­ises. The list of prom­ises he made dur­ing his cam­paign for the White House is promi­nently dis­played on a white board as he checks off those he’s been able to de­liver. He is now clearly fo­cused on the one prom­ise that in many ways de­fined his can­di­dacy. Mr. Trump promised vot­ers bor­der se­cu­rity at least in part by build­ing a “wall” to se­cure the na­tion’s south­ern bor­der.

It’s his de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep that prom­ise that has led to the cur­rent gov­ern­ment shut­down. Demo­cratic lead­ers are just as com­mit­ted to fur­ther open­ing our bor­ders as Mr. Trump is to get­ting con­trol of them. Democrats main­tain that there is no im­mi­gra­tion cri­sis other than that we as a na­tion aren’t as wel­com­ing as we should be. They see lit­tle if any dif­fer­ence be­tween those who come here legally, spend­ing years and thou­sands of dol­lars to be­come cit­i­zens, and those who flaunt our laws by sneak­ing over the bor­der. While the car­a­van of thou­sands ap­proached our bor­ders, Democrats ar­gued that it was no more than a spon­ta­neous ef­fort by op­pressed women and chil­dren seek­ing a safe har­bor.

Re­ports in­di­cat­ing that the car­a­van was or­ga­nized by open-bor­ders ad­vo­cacy groups and led by a man wanted for ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties were sim­ply ig­nored by lead­ing Democrats and a friendly me­dia. While more than 90 per­cent of those in the car­a­van were young men, in­clud­ing gang mem­bers and oth­ers who would never be al­lowed legally into this coun­try, the press por­trayed it as con­sist­ing mainly of women and chil­dren. Crit­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of the car­a­van’s makeup, lead­er­ship and fund­ing were dis­missed as bo­gus cam­paign scare tac­tics orig­i­nat­ing with a pres­i­dent will­ing to ex­ploit the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers to fur­ther his own po­lit­i­cal ends.

The Demo­cratic lead­er­ship’s ide­o­log­i­cal be­lief in es­sen­tially an “open bor­ders” pol­icy and the de­sire to deny the pres­i­dent al­most any­thing he seeks was un­der­scored last week by Se­nate Demo­cratic leader Chuck Schumer’s dec­la­ra­tion that the im­passe will not end un­til Repub­li­cans throw in the towel on “the wall.” Mr. Schumer told re­porters af­ter a meet­ing with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, “If you want to open the gov­ern­ment, you must aban­don the wall.”

South Carolina Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham got it right in a Fri­day in­ter­view, point­ing out that while he some­times dis­agrees with the pres­i­dent, the one thing he likes is that Mr. Trump tries to keep his prom­ises. He told a Fox News in­ter­viewer “When you make a prom­ise to the Amer­i­can peo­ple you should keep it … He promised to build a wall, and he is go­ing to fight hard to keep that prom­ise.”

Mr. Gra­ham con­tin­ued, “Af­ter the car­a­van, if you don’t see the need for more bor­der se­cu­rity, you are blind. Here’s the prob­lem. I think Democrats hate Trump so much they want him to lose, even though it would be good for the coun­try to work with him on bor­der se­cu­rity. And if he doesn’t break ‘em now, it’s go­ing to be a ter­ri­ble 2019. …“So Mr. Pres­i­dent,” he ad­vised, “dig in.”

Af­ter the 2016 elec­tion, The Wash­ing­ton Post chided the newly elected Pres­i­dent Trump for his ap­par­ent de­sire to ac­tu­ally do what he promised dur­ing the cam­paign. The Post claimed that cam­paign rhetoric is one thing, but gov­ern­ing is an­other, and hoped Mr. Trump would fol­low not his in­stincts, but the ad­vice of D.C. in­sid­ers. What many sim­ply couldn’t ac­cept was that un­like most can­di­dates, Mr. Trump ac­tu­ally in­tended to keep every prom­ise. Like his poli­cies or not, one has to ad­mire this pres­i­dent’s at­tempt to keep faith with those who elected him. Few suc­cess­ful can­di­dates do — and that fail­ure ex­plains more than any­thing the dis­dain vot­ers have for them.

Can­di­date Don­ald Trump caught a wave that no one knew ex­isted, he be­lieved some­thing needed to be done to se­cure the na­tion’s south­ern bor­der and un­der­stood that vot­ers shared that be­lief. Democrats can dis­agree, but poll af­ter poll shows that vot­ers still want the bor­der se­cu­rity

Can­di­date Don­ald Trump caught a wave that no one knew ex­isted, he be­lieved some­thing needed to be done to se­cure the na­tion’s south­ern bor­der and un­der­stood that vot­ers shared that be­lief.

Can­di­date Trump promised and Pres­i­dent Trump is try­ing to de­liver.

Gov­ern­ment shut­downs in the past like the one in which we find our­selves now are not sim­ply a re­sult of par­ti­san bick­er­ing, but of deep dif­fer­ences be­tween the par­ties on is­sues of im­por­tance to them and, more im­por­tant, the Amer­i­can peo­ple. The ques­tion of which party will ben­e­fit or be hurt by the cur­rent shut­down will be de­ter­mined not by whether vot­ers can be con­vinced that Mr. Trump or Mr. Schumer is to blame for it, but on whether they agree with the pres­i­dent or the Demo­cratic leader on im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der se­cu­rity. David A. Keene is an edi­tor at large for The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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