President Donald J. Trump has the Democrats’ number and they can’t stand it, as evidenced by their increasing anger and frustration over an inability to take him on or take him down.
The most recent example of this was the cancellation of a scheduled budget negotiation meeting between the president, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York.
Tuesday morning before the meeting Trump tweeted: “Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Now, anyone who is even passingly familiar with Pelosi, Schumer, and today’s Democratic Party knows the president is exactly right: They are for unlimited immigration. They do want higher and higher taxes (especially when they can play the class warfare card and tax the “wealthy”). They are weak on crime (that’s what all of the bogus “sentencing reform” is all about — they just want to let certain people get away with criminal behavior, for votes).
And here’s another thing: Democratic leaders aren’t interested in helping a Republican president or the GOP reach any budget deal which keeps the government open because they believe they get too much political mileage out of government shutdowns (that they always cause).
So Trump was being Trump, but Trump was also being a politician. Democrats love to call out Republicans, but those tables are seldom turned on them. Trump is turning the tables and calling out his Democratic opponents for what they truly are: Obstructionists, pure and simple.
Oh, and juvenile — hence the cancellation of the budget negotiations meeting. What is there to negotiate, after all, when the president turns out to be exactly right regarding what he should expect? After all, if Trump was wrong, Pelosi and Schumer would have attended the meeting as scheduled.
Well, the White House isn’t letting Schumer and Pelosi off the hook. Slamming their decision to cancel the talks as “pettiness,” the administration said it’s time that adults step up to the plate and “get to work” for the American people, like the administration and Republicans are attempting to do. (Related: Trump budget seeks to ‘put taxpayers first’ by cutting abused welfare programs.)
“It’s disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. “The president’s invitation to the Democrat leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work. These issues are too important.”
Her response was followed by Schumer and Pelosi — grandstanding. “Given that the president doesn’t see a deal between Democrats and the White House, we believe the best path forward is to continue negotiating with our Republican counterparts in Congress instead,” they said in a statement.
“Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we’ve asked Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan to meet this afternoon.”
Boom. That proves Trump owned the Democratic leaders, for he knew exactly what they were going to press for — provisions in the budget that they knew neither Trump nor Republicans would back.
In making his pre-meeting announcement Trump put the onus squarely on Pelosi and Schumer, who now will have to explain why it is that they will allow the government to shut down rather than do what they admonished Republicans for doing in 2013, when the GOP threatened a shutdown over Obamacare (but failed to follow through).
“This time, the GOP should not be the party that fears blame and is unwilling to stand on principle. If Democrats want to shut the government down, the White House should let them, and make them own the consequences,” National Review’s Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in April, when budget talks first began.
That’s great strategy.
J.D. Heyes is also editor-in-chief of The National Sentinel.