Donald Trump deserves credit. By signing a bill this past Friday to reopen the federal government, Trump did something extraordinarily rare: he acknowledged that he is both a fraud and a failure.
Trump’s signature on the bill, which temporarily reopened the government, signaled an end to what can only be logically viewed as a blunder of massive proportions. For 35 days, Trump held the federal government hostage. The shutdown, which began with the Republican party controlling all three branches of government, was a failed political stunt that did not succeed in even obtaining so much as a penny for Trump’s border wall. As the dust settles, the man who authored “The Art of the Deal” has absolutely nothing to show for his part.
Now, Trump is left only to lick his wounds. His approval ratings are in the gutter—multiple polls have found him hovering in the 30s. Having seemingly conceded this battle in full, the path forward for pursuing his border agenda is murky at best.
What can be said about the shutdown, other than to highlight Trump’s inability to govern and tendency to make unfulfilled promises? While Democrats should be proud that they stood firm and rejected Trump’s bigoted border wall, it is impossible to rejoice in the aftermath of the longest shutdown in United States history. That is because the shutdown has demonstrated the true threat of the Trump administration: a callous willingness to directly harm the American people, solely for the purpose of ego.
Over the course of 35 days, Trump upended the lives of thousands of American workers and their families. The New York Times reported that 800,000 federal workers had been impacted by the Trump shutdown. Over half of those individuals were essential personnel and thus forced to work without pay. Even as the government reopens, many will never be compensated for their work. Others, who could not afford to wait while their paycheck was in limbo, were forced to drastically alter their in order to scrape by. The shutdown will also have lasting effects on the U.S. economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the overall cost of the Trump shutdown on the US economy will be $11 billion.
The Trump Shutdown highlighted this simple fact: our country does not face a national emergency at the border. If this was true, the administration would not have conceded, allowing the government to resume work without a solution to the supposed emergency. What has become clear, however, is that our nation does face a different kind of crisis. Trump, and his willingness to disregard the wellbeing of American workers when he is unable to achieve his radical agenda through legislative means, poses a grave threat to our country.
The lesson of the shutdown is clear, and it is frightening. We have an administration that is willing to shutdown the government, no matter the cost. Worse yet is that our nation faces a true national emergency: a president who will cripple the lives of American citizens just to stroke his own ego in the face of his failed promises.
Contact Eli Cousin at [email protected]