News & Politics

Charles Blow: The Government Shutdown Is All Trump's Fault

So much for the president being a one-of-a-kind dealmaker.

Photo Credit: Youtube Screencap / CNN

Donald Trump is a terrible dealmaker. Despite co-authoring a bestseller called The Art of the Deal and campaigning on his negotiating acumen, he's managed to singlehandedly shut down the federal government, argues Charles Blow in his Monday column.

It didn't have to come to this. Of the Dreamers, the 800,000 Americans who came to this country as children, Blow writes that: "There is absolutely no reason that a deal couldn’t have been reached on the Dreamers, something that the vast majority of Americans want. But Republicans used the threat of withholding the fix as a bargaining chip, and Democrats held to the fix as imperative."

By refusing to fall for Republicans' dirty tricks, the Democrats have allowed Trump to dig his own grave. During the pre-shutdown negotiations, Blow continues, "Trump proved himself both woefully inept at making tough deals and also demonstrated that his yearlong strategy of trying to govern to the exclusion of Democrats and playing to a narrow base is fatally flawed."

Voters may be enchanted with the idea of having a businessman as president, but they forget that "the skills and interests aren’t always transferable. Operating with a profit interest is often at odds with operating in the public interest." 

Each of Trump's so-called successes has had only one narrow constituency in mind, and it's not steel plant workers in the Midwest. In fact, his deals "have largely been beneficial to big business, moving us ever closer to true plutocracy." He signed a reverse-Robin Hood tax bill, and continually brags about how many regulations he's repealed. As Bloomberg reports, even that is a lie.

Then there's the fact that Trump himself is an "unrepentant, unremitting liar." Blow continues, "That makes deal-making impossible. His word is meaningless and his policy principles are murky. He is mercurial and inconsistent. This may well have worked in business, to keep people off kilter, but it won’t work in politics."

That doesn't mean that public opinion won't come out on Trump's side. Adds Blow:

"On this government shutdown, morally, Democrats hold the higher ground. But politics is seen through different lenses depending on where you sit...Trump’s team is now casting the shutdown as Democratic obstruction, which for some will resonate. It will be harder for Democrats to make their moral case the longer the shutdown stays in effect."

Even worse, "Trump and his anti-immigrant, cultural-anxiety agitators are already pitching the shutdown as a choice Democrats made to put the brown children of illegal immigrants over the interests of beleaguered soldiers."

Blow leaves us this week with a harsh truth: "Trump isn’t a great deal maker, but he is an extraordinary norms-breaker. When this is all settled, however that is done, Trump will find a way to make himself look like a winner, even if he has to lie."

Read the entire column.

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Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.