Everything can’t always be about Trump
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Consider the following three things.

One, the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as the American people, want a long-term solution that allows “Dreamers”— the 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children — to stay here.


Two, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE has said he will sign a “Dreamers” bill provided it includes more investments in border security and at least some funding for a wall.

And three, Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Ill.) and four other senators have proposed a bipartisan deal that appeared to offer a commonsense compromise on the Dreamers and on border security, just in time to avert a government shutdown.

But we may have a shutdown anyway and if a Monday New York Times story is to be believed, it is because of President Trump’s reported remark about the U.S. admitting immigrants from “shithole countries.”

According to the Times, “President Trump’s incendiary words about immigration have dampened the prospects that a broad spending and immigration deal can be reached by the end of the week, raising the possibility of a government shutdown with unknown political consequences.”

This seems to be basically accepted wisdom in Washington right now. Trump ruined an immigration deal by mouthing off again.

But this is a cop out. It lets a dysfunctional Congress off the hook for its multi-year failure to find a solution for the Dreamers or on virtually any immigration issue.

If President Trump made the “shithole” remark—or anything like it—he deserves to be rebuked. It’s indefensible.

But so is most everything that has happened since. For starters, Trump’s alleged remark was made in a supposedly private meeting with members of Congress, the kind of meeting that not long ago would stay private. Whoever leaked Trump’s remark may have scored a short-term political win at the cost of destroying the trust that is so essential for leaders to work together.

And since the remark got out, this is all many in Washington have been able to talk about.

We’re a few days from a government shut down and a few months from the possibility of Dreamers getting deported. Is it too much to ask our elected officials to focus more on finding solutions to these problems and less on the latest verbal fusillade from the president?

Here’s something most everyone can agree on: Donald Trump says outlandish and sometimes outright offensive things. He has throughout his career in business and on TV. He has throughout his first year as president. He is likely to continue doing so for the next three years.

The easiest thing for any Democratic member of Congress to do in the wake of such statements is to slip into hyperbolic high dudgeon mode, like Illinois Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezDemocrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire Dem leader says party can include abortion opponents DHS to make migrants wait in Mexico while asylum claims processed MORE did last weekend when he said President Trump “could lead the Ku Klux Klan.”

Rep. Gutierrez likely won’t pay a political price for that statement and I am sure he believes he is fighting to defend the dignity and rights of immigrants. But if he was really interested in forging a bipartisan immigration compromise right now—which is what is required to get any bill through this Congresshe would not have just compared the President of the United States to the Grand Wizard of the KKK.

What we need now is leaders in Congress willing to recognize they have a job to do above and beyond opining on the latest utterance from the White House; to accept that sometimes a moment demands you heed the timeless words of Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel to be a professional and “rise above it.”

This is one of those moments. A government that has lost the trust of its people can’t afford another shut down. The lives of 800,000 Dreamers and the security of our border are not priorities that can be sacrificed to another Washington cycle of “denounce and defend.”

There is a way forward here. The bipartisan Senate group has its immigration proposal which is, for the moment, the “only game in town,” according to one its supporters. But other members appear to be arising to the occasion, including the House Problem Solvers Caucus, which is meeting this week to see if its 48 members can forge a compromise.

Donald Trump may be the president, but everything in U.S. politics can’t always and everywhere be about him. Congress has a job to do.

It’s time for them to do it.

Ryan Clancy is the chief strategist for No Labels.