Scared and isolated, Donald Trump drags US Govt to shutdown, gambles with jobs of 800,000 employees over demand of $5 bn for border wall

New York: More than 400,000 US government employees will go without pay, 380,000 will be put on leave without pay as America faced a partial government shutdown midnight Friday just days before the Christmas holidays and all this is happening over another Donald Trump tantrum. That's the short story of a wild and endless day in Washington DC when many stunned lawmakers who had just gone home for the holidays had to scramble back on flights and trains to the capital city to cast their votes for a downright ridiculous Trump negotiation drama. The House has adjourned without a deal on spending, virtually guaranteeing a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday. Senators are also being told there will be no further votes Friday as talks continue. Without a deal, funding for parts of the government will expire at midnight.

The popular narrative is that a "scared" and "vulnerable" Trump has been pushed to a corner and caved to the demands of wingnut hard-right commentators who said he must deliver on his bedrock promise of the 2016 campaign - the border wall - or shut down the government and wing it depending on whatever happens. More and more four star generals are saying America is on very dangerous ground, Russian commentators are reacting with glee, saying "he's doing all this on his own!" and "erratic" seems like an understatement to explain Trump's apocalyptic behavior. Allies and enemies alike are reacting with shock at Trump's instability and incoherence in all that he is doing, especially as the Robert Mueller probe draws closer and closer to the White House. So, where's this Trump administration going without its training wheels? With he last caregiver James Mattis gone, all Trump has left is his own children and a bunch of misfit toys with a bunker mentality, egging him on, saying this is what draining the political swamp looks like, it's all good.

The reality is very different, though. Trump, everyone except his acolytes agrees, is behaving like a teenager on rampage. He invoked Ronald Raegan to justify his doozy plans, here's what Ronald Reagan's son had to say: "My father was sane!"

Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump. AP

Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump. AP

"This guy is acting like Henry the eighth, can't get his divorce, can't get anything done and then he goes crazy. Who are these guys - Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter...they are telling the US president what to do, they are lighting him up and he is burning the country down", railed opponents, finally losing their patience with Trump's unprecedented yo-yo act.

On the shortest day this winter, Trump plunged America into a darkness that goes beyond the particulars of the border wall or the Syria pull out or the Mattis resignation or anything else. It's all of that and then some. Wasn't Mexico supposed to pay for this mythical border wall con that Trump has spun up? How is it that it's suddenly the US taxpayer who must pay? The wall, like so many of Trump's claims, is a visual persuasion trick which was meant to stick for instant political gain. What Trump and his immigration point man Stephen Miller really want is this: Stop all immigration. Period.

"Mr President, you're not getting your wall. Not today, not next week": With that stinger, US Senators are readying to sink an ill-fated spending bill sending the American government into partial shutdown on a wild day in Washington,

A week ago, Trump said he'd be "proud" to shut down the government if Congress, led by fellow Republicans, didn't give him the money he wanted for his long-promised border wall with Mexico. Now, the government is heading toward a partial shutdown if a spending impasse isn't settled by midnight. And Trump is saying that if enough Senate Democrats don't go along with a House-passed plan that includes the border money, then it'll be a "Democrat Shutdown!"

Trump already faces a difficult 2019, likely to be dominated by Mueller's investigation into whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia and congressional probes into his businesses, his family and some cabinet members.

What Trump should be really worried about today is Republicans are turning on him. He needs at least 34 Senators to stick with him to avoid being impeached. With Mattis' exit, the math is beginning to change.

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Updated Date: Dec 24, 2018 06:04:23 IST

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