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Bridging The Gap
Opinion: Donald Trump uses old tricks in shutdown talks with new Congress.
  Thursday 03 January, 2019
Opinion: Donald Trump uses old tricks in shutdown talks with new Congress.

The US president's initial dealings with a divided Congress to end a partial government shutdown were typically Trump: double down on your demand, embarrass your own aides and blame the Democrats, writes Michael Knigge.

Experience a strange sense of deja vu after witnessing President Donald Trump's strategy to end the partial government shutdown in his first encounter with a divided Congress? Don't worry, it isn't a laggard effect of those New Year's Eve drinks. It is just Trump being Trump.

To kick off inaugural talks with a divided Congress featuring a resurgent Democratic Party, self-proclaimed master negotiator Trump on Wednesday went back to his tried and tested playbook.

Read more:2018: The year Trumpian disruption rocked German politics

In a Cabinet meeting flanked by an acting defense secretary and an acting interior secretary he doubled down on his long-standing demand for a "big, beautiful wall." He then embarrassed Vice President Mike Pence when he insisted that he would not accept anything less than $5.6 billion (4.9 billion) in funding for the wall, even though Pence dispatched by the White House to talk to the Democrats just days ago had told them Trump would sign a bill that included half of that amount. Finally, Trump wrapped up by faulting Democrats for the shutdown.

Trump drawing such a stark red line in the sand rendered the White House's previously scheduled first meeting to seek a solution to the impasse with the new Congressional leadership useless. And so it was little surprise that the meeting ended without any clear progress and the shutdown will continue.

Michael Knigge Kommentarbild App
Michael Knigge is DW's correspondent in the US

Trump's "my way or the highway" style of negotiations has not worked well in a Congress controlled by his own Republican Party. It will work even less in a Congress in which the Democrats control the House of Representatives. But Trump is unencumbered by the thought process of what is actually achievable and in the best interest of the country.

Instead, his main benchmark for political decision-making is how he thinks his stances resonate with his base of supporters. That explains Trump's sudden reversal late last year when he refused to back a bipartisan spending package that Congress had passed with the expectation he would sign it. Conservative pundits lambasted the deal, and Trump quickly caved.

Trump's rationale to do everything he believes will please his base also explains why he would double down on a demand he is extremely unlikely to be able to achieve. The strengthened Democrats have no incentive to give Trump $5 billion to fulfill his signature campaign promise. After all, opposition to Trump's wall was a key electoral driver for the new class of progressive Democrats in Congress, which includes many members that hail from immigrant families themselves.

Read more: Donald Trump will be impeached in 2019, says 'prediction professor'

Despite all the bragging, threatening and blaming, the president will ultimately be forced to blink and climb down from his unachievable demand to end the partial government shutdown he owns. When that will happen is anyone's guess. But sometimes all it takes to trigger presidential action is a Fox News segment or a call by the leader of Turkey.

US government shutdown to extend to 2019
Donald Trump said he was 'waiting for Democrats' to come to the White House to reach a deal over his proposed border wall. Trump blamed the deaths of two migrant children at the border on Democrats' immigration policy. (30.12.2018)

Erdogan will 'eradicate' remnant IS in Syria, claims Trump
The shock US troop pullout from Syria will be "highly coordinated," President Donald Trump has claimed after phoning his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Many US politicians and NATO allies fear destabilization. (24.12.2018)

Donald Trump will be impeached in 2019, says 'prediction professor'
Scholar Allan Lichtman defied mainstream wisdom by forecasting early on that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. In an interview with DW, he now predicts that the president will be impeached next year. (29.12.2018)

2018: The year Trumpian disruption rocked German politics
Germany and Angela Merkel started 2018 as the bearers of anti-Trump hopes, but they ended the year with plenty of turmoil themselves. DW political correspondent Jefferson Chase looks back at 12 very turbulent months. (31.12.2018)

New US Congresswomen carry hopes of Native Americans
Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland will have a unique challenge of representing not only their districts, but being the voice for Native American women one of the most marginalized groups in the US. Maya Shwayder reports. (25.12.2018)





source:https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-donald-trump-uses-old-tricks-in-shutdown-talks-with-new-congress/a-46938376

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