The Corner


Trump’s Offer

President Donald Trump delivers remarks on border security and the partial shutdown in the Diplomatic Room at the White House, January 19, 2019. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

It showed an understandable desire to try to shake something loose. Trump has political ownership of the shutdown — because he claimed it — and presumably things aren’t going to get better for him going forward.

Now, he has a proposal on the table that will, at the least, force Senate Democrats to filibuster a bill to reopen the government that contains a number of immigration initiatives important to them (most notably, extensions of DACA and TPS). The bill might even get a couple of Democratic votes. This could be a way to make Nancy Pelosi seem the unreasonable one (she’s been plenty unreasonable, but no one in the press ever calls her on it).

On the other hand, Democrats still believe they have the upper hand and know that Trump efforts to end DACA and TPS are held up in the courts. Even if they decide to negotiate in earnest, Trump’s offer probably represents the high-water mark for him, and any deal would be a comedown from what was available last year and from what his supporters believed might result from a shutdown.

Bottom line: This is a sensible tack, but unfortunately goes to show he’s dealing from a position of weakness, not strength, right now.

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

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