Variously described in appearance as a pair of fictional villains from a James Bond film to a modern version of the American Gothic painting, Sen. Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had all the sincerity of used idea salespeople in their rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s appeal to the public for support of his border security effort amid a partial government shutdown.
The shutdown is into its third week, but Capitol Hill Democrats, who seemed to welcome a new gun control effort Tuesday as a possible distraction to their inability to gull Trump into caving, may have a public relations problem with their leadership.
One critique suggested that their rebuttal speech revealed the real reason for their angst over the wall: the 2016 election, and Trump’s surprising victory over Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Fox News commentators have been showing archive film clips of Pelosi and Schumer, and even ex-President Barack Obama pushing for increased border security. What is different now is that Trump is in the Oval Office, and Democrats simply cannot get over it. The economy under Trump has improved. Unemployment is down. The tax cut is having an effect.
The president did something that Democrats typically reserve for their own arguments: He used anecdotal tragedies related to illegal immigration to make his case on an emotional level. He talked about death from heroin and other drugs illegally smuggled across the border. He talked about brutal crimes committed by illegal aliens, including the recent murder of California police Cpl. Ronil Singh, allegedly by a suspect identified as Gustavo Perez Arriaga, a Mexican national. ABC News persisted in calling Arriaga an “undocumented immigrant.” Trump’s audience understood that the suspect is in this country illegally.
In his remarks, Schumer accused Trump of manufacturing a crisis at the border, and of hurting government workers who will now miss a paycheck.
A Rasmussen survey from mid-November showed that 29 percent of likely voters think illegal immigration “is the issue the new Congress should deal with first,” followed by solving health care (24 percent). Only 7 percent thing gun control is an important issue, while 17 percent think the focus should be on impeachment of the president.
If the issue were not already, it has now become a contest of will between the president and Democrat leadership. While Trump continues to be Trump, Schumer and Pelosi on Tuesday night provided a visual impression of two funeral directors who are patient with the belief that eventually everybody will come through their doors.
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