The President’s Proposal Regarding Immigration and Border Security to End the Shutdown is Dead On Arrival

The President’s pitch this afternoon was a combination of rehashing his Oval Office address from two weeks ago with some limited sweeteners in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall in order to try to bring the Democrats to the table and reopen the parts of the government that are in shutdown. This includes a temporary, three year DACA extension; a temporary, three year reinstatement of the Temporary Protected Status Program; and slight adjustments to the President’s hard line attempts to rewrite US law and treaty obligations in regards to those seeking asylum. The proposal was dead on arrival. It was dead on arrival with the Democrats, but it was also dead on arrival with the President’s revanchist, nativist, white supremacist, xenophobic, and neo-nationalist outside advisors and supporters.

The proposal was dead on arrival with the Democrats because the Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, seem to have finally learned that once you pay protection the first time, you never get out from under the thumb of the people running the protection racket. If the Democrats agree to any of the President’s requests regarding border security – from those they agree with such as funding for better technological solutions and more money to handle those seeking asylum, let alone those they don’t such as the wall – before he agrees to reopen the government and/or before Senate Majority Leader McConnell actually stops acting as if he’s a presidential appointee and not an actual senator, let alone the majority leader, then the President and/or Senator McConnell will just continue to take hostages in exchange for having their demands met. In fact the next hostage in their sites is the debt ceiling, which will come up again in March. Given that Mick Mulvaney of the Freedom Caucus is both the Acting Chief of Staff and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and his former colleagues still in Congress Mark Meadows and Gym Jordan have the President’s ear, they will be peddling him the same snake oil they’ve  been peddling since 2011 – that it doesn’t matter if the US crashes through its debt ceiling. Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, and their caucuses can’t negotiate under these conditions because they’re not actually negotiations where everyone actually gives something to get something. They’re shakedowns. They’re an attempt to leverage a self made crisis, in this case by the President, abetted first by former Speaker Paul Ryan and now by Senate Majority Leader McConnell, to achieve what actually can’t be achieved through good faith legislative negotiations among legislators, between each chamber of Congress, and negotiations between Congress and the White House. The President believes in a zero sum world, in order for him to win, whomever he is dealing with must lose. Speaker Pelosi has no intention of losing.

The President’s proposal is also dead on arrival because his outside advisors and supporters feel betrayed by what he is proposing.

Anne Coulter has already lambasted it:

Rush Limbaugh hasn’t weighed in yet, at least not that I’ve seen, nor has Hannity or Tucker. Ingraham sort of has on her twitter feed. My guess is they’re all waiting to see how this plays so they can figure out whether they need to slam the President to get him back into line or support him against the Democrats. Coulter really only wants full on white Christian herrenvolkism, so slamming the President on this right away is easy. Regardless, this isn’t playing well with his base and I’m sure that Stephen Miller, who both channels that base to the President and is in contact with the interest entrepreneurs who manipulate it, will do what he does best behind the scenes and by the time Senator McConnell can bring this to a vote, the President will have changed his mind again and walked away from the sweeteners.

The President cannot be negotiated with because he is not a reliable negotiator, changes his mind constantly, and lies constantly. Senator McConnell cannot be negotiated with because he is not a reliable negotiator and because he recognizes no rule, norm, tradition, and/or law unless it can be manipulated to benefit him. It is easy for the Democrats to reject this proposal. If they agree to anything before Senator McConnell brings the clean appropriations and continuing resolutions to the floor that the Senate under his leadership passed 100-0 during the lame duck session in December 2018 and the President agrees to sign it before negotiations over immigration and border security start, then they have surrendered on every legislative and policy dispute for as long as the President is in office and Senator McConnell is the leader of his caucus.

The President’s base and supporters rejecting this proposal is also easy. What they really want is all immigration or, at least, all immigration by non-whites to cease. They want the US closed. And they want the people they hate* – people who are Hispanics and Latinx, Native Americans, African, Arab , Asian , Muslims, Jews, non-Christians, and/or LGBTQ – to be excluded from the US, those who are already here excluded from the full rights and privileges of citizenship and residency, and the government of the US reestablished solely for the welfare, security, and posterity of white Christian Americans.

Every time they try to achieve this they lose. Often those losses have come at great cost. Perhaps this time when they lose the rest of us should work very hard to make the changes that will ensure they don’t try again at some future time.

Open thread.

46 replies
  1. 1

    But he negotiated it with Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell and Jared! It must be the greatest negotiation ever! Nobody knew it could be so great!

  2. 2
    JMG says:

    Everything you say is exactly correct. And if you saw the network news programs tonight, you were told the exact opposite. Trump has proposed a compromise. Why don’t the Democrats accept it? A business that’s totally dependent on old white people is never going to do anything but bend towards whatever the Republican line might be.

  3. 3
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: It is pretty amazing that they can think of it as negotiating when they are all on the same side. It would almost be funny if they weren’t destroying our democracy

  4. 4
    Kelly says:

    They want more than limiting full citizenship to white Christians. There’s a limited set of Christian sects they’d allow full citizenship.

  5. 5
    Kelly says:

    @JMG: This is why I gave up on TV news during Iraq 2.

  6. 6
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Is that confederacy of dunces plus McConnell characterized as a negotiation by the national media? I hope not.

    The solution I offered in previous thread on this topic was for the Democrats in the House to pass whatever border and immigration security measures, ICE reform program, border patrol training improvement and staff increase, etc., that they think appropriate, call it ‘Wall’, and find a way to slap a $5,7 billion price tag on it (no matter what it costs, seems like no one checks, and two week ago the WH didn’t even have the simplest budget for their Wall funding request), Then go to the WH and tell Trump to his face that he won. See if that works.

    I’m just running stuff up the flagpole here.

    If the Democrats don’t want to do that, then I think they need to argue more forcefully and in more detail to the public that Wall is a joke, a stunt, a fraud, a mirage, it is nothing but a Trump PR stunt. I think they are trying to do that while seeming to be all responsible and serious about it, but that is giving Trump too much credit. Pelosi, Schumer, and others need to put in a soundbite in every single thing they say that says bluntly, the Trump Wall is a complete fraud.

    Or, as I suggest above, pass what they want, say it meets Trump $ demand, and call it ‘Wall’. I guess that is a ‘my fraud beats your fraud’ strategy.
    Or I guess you could do both. Pass a fraud, explain to the public what you are doing, and say that you think Trump will bite because he is a stupid swindler.

    But, I admit, I am running up trial balloons here.

  7. 7
    Mary G says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I theorize that that meeting was McConnell summoning them to his office to say “Do something. We’re losing.” So they’re trying to call that a negotiation in the vain attempt to keep people from noticing that no Democrat was there.

  8. 8
    plato says:

    5.7 billion

  9. 9
    jl says:

    @plato: F yeah! 5.7 billion!!

    Say the Dems think they can get something responsible and realistic similar to what they passed before that costs, say, 1.8 billion (I think close to one of their proposals). Drop some Hassett ‘Dow 36,000’ economic Science on that sucker, and could get a price tag of %5.7 billion, easy peasy. Put that number up at the top of the bill where Trump can see it next to his name. Call it ‘Wall Bill’. One and done. Easy, Godammitall.

  10. 10

    @jl: I think I have seen the word “negotiate” or one of its derivatives in juxtaposition with those names. I recall because I had to look twice to figure it out.

    My two senators are being quite forceful in how they describe Trump’s offer. The next thread up has some other senatorial tweets – I think Heinrich and Udall are not among them.

    I like your idea. I’m not sure how Pelosi plays the next step. We’ll see.

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    Why is Ann’s avatar implying she’s topless?

  12. 12

    @Mary G: You are probably right, but I’ll bet that Trump thought it was a negotiation. They were negotiating him away from expecting a wall for giving up nothing.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Any pundit who or celeb news actor fraud who characterizes it as a negotiation in any way that gives any chance of any viewer thinking it was anything but a bunch of miserable frauds scheming more crap, should get a lot of mail and phone calls.

    @debbie: She’s primarily a marketer catering a fine and carefully curated selection of frauds to a certain demographic, IMHO.

  14. 14
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: He probably thought he was negotiating with Kanye when Kanye stopped by the oval office and spewed his crazy.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: Thanks for catching that. I’ll fix it right now.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: Box wine.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Box wine can be fine and carefully curated. Just sayin…

  18. 18
    Uncle Jeffy says:

    “Rush Limbaugh hasn’t weighed in yet…”

    The jokes write themselves.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: I’ll take your word for it.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Uncle Jeffy: No one seems to have noticed Gym Jordan yet.

  21. 21
    Mike in NC says:

    Mob boss Donald “Fat Bastard” Trump has a 50 year history of running scams and shakedowns. He ain’t about to change his business model now.

  22. 22
    plato says:

    @Mike in NC: Yup. His MO has paid him very well so far, so why would he change it now? Decades of systemic and press failures enabled this lil shit.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I noticed with quiet approval.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: I’m just amazed some guy didn’t shoot him for making a play for and/or having an affair with the guy’s wife. Or daughter.

  25. 25
    WaterGirl says:


    Decades of systemic and press failures enabled this lil shit.

    Not to mention that he was never prosecuted for any of his illegal business deals and the money laundering that everyone apparently knew about but did nothing about.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:


  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: I believe those would be some of the aforementioned systemic failures.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You are correct. I missed the word “and” and read it as “Decades of systemic press failures…”

  29. 29
    JanieM says:


    It is pretty amazing that they can think of it as negotiating when they are all on the same side.

    This reminds me of the last time I was in a relationship. She decided what she wanted and what she could give, and what I wanted and could give. I didn’t have to do a damned thing — except break up with her.

  30. 30
    JanieM says:

    Perhaps this time when they loose the rest of us should work very hard to make the changes that will ensure they don’t try again at some future time.


    Although, easier said than done.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JanieM: Did she have a thing for safe words?//

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JanieM: Yep and yep. Unfortunately.

  33. 33
    JanieM says:

    @Adam L Silverman: LOL. But, no.

  34. 34
    Another Scott says:

    Good piece, thanks.

    s /loose/lose


  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JanieM: Glad you took that in the manner it was intended.

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: Spit takes a village two git ay post write.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:


    This reminds me of the last time I was in a relationship. She decided what she wanted and what she could give, and what I wanted and could give. I didn’t have to do a damned thing — except break up with her.

    You should enter that into the best one-sentence short story contest. It would easily be done with an EM dash and a semicolon.

    edit: Not the same thing at all, but have you ever gotten mad at someone — or had someone get mad at you — because of a dream ?

    Or had someone get mad at your preemptively because they are sure they know exactly what you are going to say or do in response to something?

  38. 38
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Adam, boychik, you need to lose an “o” each time “loose” appears in the penultimate paragraph – the poor usage mars what is otherwise a stirring screed. /pedant

  39. 39
    JanieM says:


    edit: Not the same thing at all, but have you ever gotten mad at someone — or had someone get mad at you — because of a dream ?

    Not exactly that, but lately I’ve been having ex-es of various sorts show up in dreams, and in some cases it makes me mad at them all over again. (Or resentful, or wistful, or whatever is appropriate, for some definition of appropriate.)

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    I was in one of those relationships. I give up everything, even stuff I didn’t have and she gives up nothing. Not exactly what I had in mind as a relationship.

  41. 41
    Miss Bianca says:

    @jl: Wow, EASY!! You make it sound so EASY!! How in the world is it that somehow you’re not on Nancy Pelosi’s staff, stunning her at every turn with your simple GEEEENIUSSS??

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: I already fixed it.

  43. 43
    sgrAstar says:

    Nice post, Adam. Thx.

  44. 44
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @WaterGirl: Sounds like the White Queen In Through the Looking Glass

  45. 45
    James E Powell says:

    I am disengaged enough that I don’t have a handle on who or what matters in Right Wing World, but do Coulter and Limbaugh still have influence? I almost never hear their names anymore and I wondered if they had been supplanted by Trump himself.

  46. 46

    Incredibly cogent outline and analysis. May just copy past to my Indiana GOP reps. Well, except the new Senator Mike Braun. He has no web site up yet, and the default page lists one phone number in DC, which a recording answers, but when it dumps you to leave a message, the mailbox is always full. Has been for a week. There is no way to contact his office.

    Anyway, your analysis is very accurate. I was astonished at how well the negotiations with the Democratic leadership went before the speech, once again demonstrating Trump’s negotiating skills.

    Oh, wait…..

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