Wednesday, January 09, 2019


David Frum last night:
After the January 8 Oval Office address, little doubt remains of how this shutdown will end. Sooner or later—probably sooner—it will end the way Trump’s threats of nuclear war upon North Korea ended: with a sudden Trump about-face. It is now only a matter of time. The polls will arrive over the next hours. Democrats and Republicans will both see that Trump did not move public opinion in his favor. They might see that Trump could not even motivate very many Americans to watch him. The panic slowly building among congressional Republicans will boil. Trump, trapped without a decent exit in a predicament of his own making, will yield everything and get nothing.
Axios's Jonathan Swan this morning:
A source close to President Trump tells Jonathan Swan that he thinks a declaration of a national emergency at the border — which Trump stopped short of last night — remains the most likely ultimate option, because of the latitude it gives the president....

Meanwhile, the White House Office of Management and Budget has been exploring other creative ways to get Trump his wall money without having to go through Congress, according to a source close to Russ Vought, a top OMB official.
* OMB, at Trump's behest, is exploring whether he can tap Pentagon resources to fund the wall without going to Congress, the source said.
Frum compares this to the North Korea situation, but Trump thinks his summit with Kim Jong Un was a great success that made him look extremely presidential. He sees that situation as a win.

He won't rest until he sees this situation as a win. I don't know why he's been hesitant to declare a national emergency -- yes, it's a terrible idea and there's a very good chance he'll be blocked by the courts, but it could be the only face-saving out available to him. The shutdown is likely to continue until he's convinced that he looks like the alpha male again, either with regard to the wall or as a result of some distraction. He'll never just admit defeat and accept the loss.

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