The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump Flunks Shutdown 101

The first rule of shutdown fights is never to say that you want a shutdown. This rule has demonstrated its power over and over again, and yet here we are. In his compulsively watchable Oval Office showdown with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, Trump stayed on the right side of the line until the very end, when he let his irritation get the best of him and said he’d be happy to accept responsibility for a shutdown over wall funding. This almost guarantees, no matter how recalcitrant Democrats are, that Republicans will get blamed for any shutdown, and probably creates more incentive for congressional Republicans to avoid one in the first place. Trump is understandably desperate to get a wall, given how important that promise was in 2016, but in all likelihood he’ll have to settle for touting incremental progress in certain sectors.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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