When Obama was in office and there was a government shutdown, Donald Trump repeatedly tweeted about his lack of leadership in avoiding it. Here’s what he said in a Fox News interview during the last government shutdown in the fall of 2013:
“Problems start from the top. They have to get solved from the top. The president’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead…. The right guy would get everybody into a room and would make a deal. You gotta get ‘em into a room. You gotta to talk to them. You gotta to cajole. You gotta do what you do when you make deals.”
But over the last few days and weeks, he has been nothing but an impediment to solving the problem, creating conflict and remaining totally absent from the negotiations. Even Mitch McConnell has noticed it:
While talking about languishing discussions to attach a DACA compromise and border security to the government-funding bill that is due Friday, McConnell suggested that the White House had failed to even make its demands known.
“I’m looking for something that President Trump supports, and he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” McConnell said. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.”
And last week, during that now-infamous meeting with Congressional leaders during which he contradicted his own previous positions multiple times, he said, “I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with. I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, gee, I want this,’ or ‘I want that.’ I will be signing it.” But then, of course, he blew up the bipartisan deal negotiated by Schumer and Graham, after calling them just hours earlier to say he would sign it.
Trump has absolutely no idea what he wants. What he’s trying to do, it’s now quite clear, is to stay away from all of this so he can blame it on someone else. And frankly, I don’t think he cares whether he can blame the Democrats or the Republicans, as long as it isn’t him. Cowardice, ignorance of the process, incoherence and contradiction — just another day in Trumpworld.