If the Democrats wouldn't talk, then President Trump decided to go to the people who would: the men and women protecting America's border. Earlier this afternoon, the president touched down in Texas for his first on-the-ground briefing since last March. This time around, things are different. Stuck in a 20-day government shutdown with no liberal cooperation in sight, the message is obvious -- for the country to get a wall, Republicans will have to be one.
So far, the White House shows no signs of cracking. Yesterday, when "Fox & Friends'" Steve Doocy said the president's supporters don't want him "to cave," Trump raced to Twitter to assure them, "I won't!" If Democrats think the border is a problem, then they'll come to the negotiating table and prove it. Until then, the president says, the federal government will remain partially closed. As far as he's concerned, this administration doesn't waver -- and an issue of national security isn't the place to start.
Meanwhile, the media is hoping the GOP isn't nearly as determined as its leader. After a handful of Republicans voted for a non-wall Treasury bill, the rumors started flying that some party members were wobbling. Not true, Trump fired back. "There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate, despite the Fake News Media working in overdrive to make the story look otherwise. The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don't want to give 'Trump' another one of many wins!" he tweeted. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) agreed. "Quite frankly, I see no wavering," Meadows said. Another House member backed him up, telling the Washington Post that, contrary to the rumors, conservatives are "dug in." "We really believe in our souls that we have a responsibility to the American people to secure the border."
Elsewhere, Democrats keep making the same illogical point -- that border walls are immoral. That's interesting, the Wall Street Journal points out, since these same liberals (Pelosi and Schumer included) voted to spend $1.6 billion on a wall last March! "Were they immoral?" "Was Senator Barack Obama mistaken in 2006, when he praised the passage of legislation providing for 'better fences and better security along our borders?' Was President Obama engaged in a 'vanity project' in 2009 as he oversaw construction of roughly 133 miles of fence, barriers, and wall along the border?"
Let's be honest. The Left's objections aren't about cost or morality or efficiency -- they're about the president. "The Democrat platform in 2008 basically supports virtually everything the Republican President of the United States said today," Mark Levin argues. "The American people haven't changed. The Republican Party hasn't changed. The Democrats for political reasons and power reasons, they've changed -- and they want to drag us all off the cliff with them."
Others, like Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) are trying to ignore the cold, hard facts. On Tuesday night, the president made a point of explaining that not everyone is coming to America with good intentions. "In the last two years," he explained, "ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings." That upset Castro, who thinks it's an unfair characterization of the illegal population. "These people, unlike what the president says, are not coming to harm Americans."
He's right. Not everyone crossing the border illegally is a physical threat. But just because these migrants don't intend to harm America doesn't mean they haven't. Our country spends $200 billion on illegal immigration every year. That's $70,000 per illegal (and seven times the cost of deporting them). Suddenly, a $5.7 billion wall doesn't sound so expensive. And while the media likes to focus on the unfortunate federal workers being treated like hostages by the Democrats, most of whom will eventually get paid, what about the money that taxpayers are shelling out that they'll never get back? The trillions of dollars in social services, housing, and tighter immigration enforcement -- all because these people refused to go to a legal point of entry.
As President Trump said, "This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice... When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do, so help me God."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.