Trump is fond of casting his greatness with firsts: Never in the history of the country has the economy done so well (which is untrue), never has the stock market performed so magnificently (which is untrue), never has the world so respected or feared the U.S. (the latter of which is unmistakably true), never never never — and it's all because of the great Donald Trump.
To his list of dubious achievements, he can now add the observation of none other than a Fox News host, Shephard Smith:
Never in the history … of the country has there been a government shutdown when a single party is in charge of Washington.
That is absurdly, scandalously true. And that, only the Donald could have accomplished. As the NY Times eloquently understates the overpowering incompetence of Trump: He's "a onetime real estate mogul whose book 'The Art of the Deal' proclaimed his mastery of negotiation," yet he "has struggled at times to seal deals as president." In fact, he has sealed nothing.
The tax bill was a creature of Congress hatched and delivered only by keeping Trump away from it, and his Supreme Court confirmation was the exclusive, sinister work of Mitch McConnell. Trump has signed many an executive order, of course — most of which are only symbolic — but signing such orders requires only a pen, not deal-making skills.
Accordingly, the Trump-Schumer Shutdown Summit of yesterday came to an ignominious conclusion. "Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer … came close to an agreement to avert a government shutdown over lunch on Friday," reports the Times. "But their consensus broke down later in the day when the president and his chief of staff demanded more concessions on immigration."
Trump doesn't seem to grasp the difficult part of negotiations: compromise. The easy part is to demand more concessions. Even easier is to simply order your man Friday to … well, I'll let the Times explain. "[Chief of Staff John] Kelly urged Mr. Schumer to work out the details of an agreement with Mr. McConnell." So there. You make it work, Mitch. The Art of the Deal.
It's also rather unhelpful when the president of the United States harbors so little idea of what he's negotiating, of what he wants, of what will fly and what won't. It is not I saying that, it's the leadership of his own party. Senate Majority Leader McConnell has said he's "looking for something that President Trump supports"; John Cornyn, the #2 man in the Senate, has said "I don’t know whether [an immigration deal is] clear to the president"; and John Thune, the Senate's #3 man, has said he is "at a loss" as to divining what Trump wants.
Marooned in a political Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of elusive objectives, they are left to shadow box.
Still, there is one certainty — a certainty so monstrously conspicuous, even Trump comprehends it. "Throughout the day," continues the Times, "Mr. Trump told aides that he knows he is going to get blamed for the shutdown, regardless of what happens and how it goes down."
It is so rare that I can write this, I don't wish to miss the opportunity: You got that right, ya jackass.