Trump's 'Wall Or Nothing' Strategy
May Really Become 'Nothing'
Mounting concern he may want the shutdown
to continue even more than he wants his wall
By Ray Cunneff
January 18, 2019
At this pivotal, perhaps historic, moment in our nation's history, I believe we need to re-examine our assumptions and re-assess our priorities. Because both the legal and political calculus may have dramatically changed for President Donald Trump and we may need to adjust our thinking and our actions accordingly.
There is mounting concern that, given the latest revelations of perfidy, corruption, and potentially treasonous behavior on the part of the president and his cronies, the shutdown impasse is no longer about a wall, or "barrier", or "steel slats" or even about border and/or national security. It's become about primal survival.
Barbara Res, former Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization told CNN's Brianna Keilar earlier today that she's never seen him like this, sensing he's like "a cornered animal". She said, “Typically and historically, he always rolled with the punches. He used to say all press is good press. Now I don’t see that. I see him going into a corner, I see him scratching back like a cornered animal. I think he’s afraid.”
Res speculated that Trump had never encountered a strong 'silk and steel' woman like House Speaker Nancy Peolsi pushing back at him and mocked Trump’s retaliatory cancellation of the Speaker’s military flight to visit our troops in Afghanistan and our NATO allies in Brussels.
She said, “What’s kind of funny about it is he likes to hit back, where you shoot him with a water pistol and he’ll shoot you back with a Magnum or something.” She added with a laugh, “He likes to hit back ten times harder than he’s been hit or more, and he’s got nothing to hit her back with. This is silly. It looks ridiculous.”
We know that nothing gets under the president's skin more than ridicule. We also have learned that Trump's obsession with building his medieval behemoth began as a mnemonic device cooked up by dirty-trickster Roger Stone to help keep him on his anti-immigration-message as the primary issue in his campaign. "Trump's wall" morphed from symbolic image to literal concrete when the message resonated powerfully with his roaring, adoring campaign crowds.
But is the partial government shutdown about a wall anymore? Arguably, whether the shutdown began as an attempt at extortion and hostage-taking of 800,000 federal workers and the overall American economy in order to get a $5.7 billion down payment on his estimated $60 billion 'sea to shiny sea' wall, it has continued for 28 days and who knows how much longer to keep his rabid base and right-wing media pundits satiated.
But Trump may also feel the continuing shutdown offers him a degree of both distraction and protection amid the stress of his mounting scandals and investigations into himself, his businesses, and his family.
Today is the day the money runs out for the Mueller Grand Jury and they will have to either continue without compensation or be furloughed.
This is also the time when the entire judicial system begins to slow and eventually grinds to a halt.
Although the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigations and those of the Southern District of New York appear somewhat insulated at this point, Trump appears to feel he has no incentive to end the shutdown, nor does he care what damage is being done.
Trump acts only in self-interest. Empathy is not transactional. A "cornered animal" is at its most dangerous. And one of the hallmarks of Trump's psychopathology is vindictiveness.
On the contrary, Trump may seize upon this moment as an opportunity to further consolidate dictatorial power and muster the darkest forces within his cadre of adherents and sycophants for a last stand, the final 'end times' battle between good and evil, between democracy and tyranny.
And like all great villains in history and literature, Trump believes he has God and righteousness on his side. Therefore, he will recognize no limits to his vengeance.