Trump should call Dems’ bluff in shutdown showdown

Government shutdowns are nothing new and have been going on for decades. Since 1977 there have been 22. None of them have lasted more than a month, and most did not even go a week. The longest shutdowns have been during the tenure of Democrats serving in the White House — Carter, Clinton and Obama.

The duration of the average shutdown tells you it’s a stunt. The lead-up to a shutdown always seems to follow the same protocols. Congress punts a continuing resolution for a matter of months and then waits for the last possible moment to vote on appropriations, thereby setting up the threat of a government shutdown in order to shakedown and extort the other party into making a deal that, again, will only last months before the whole process repeats itself.

No business and no family budget could operate the way Congress does business. 

This political game of Russian Roulette is getting tiresome and predictable. Holding government spending hostage for purely political purposes is gross negligence at best and extortion at worst.


Shutting down the government over a $5 billion appropriation in a $4 trillion annual budget is as partisan as it gets. The visceral hate for this president, and the resistance by Democrats, is appalling.

Border security should be a “no brainer” and should enjoy wide bipartisan support. There was a time when it did: Republicans and Democrats came together and voted for the “Secure Fence Act of 2006.” That legislation appropriated money to build more than 700 miles of border fencing; Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade A Biden stumble on China? MORE (D-N.Y.) and then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Pentagon issues report revealing ex-White House doctor 'belittled' subordinates, violated alcohol policies The Reagan era is over MORE (D-Ill.) took to the floor of the Senate to champion border security.

There is no doubt America needs better and smarter border security — yet, as long as this president makes it a priority, Democrats will go kicking and screaming to approve any penny for border security that Republicans say will be spent for a border wall.

This game of semantics that is being played is transparently politicizing border security: Republicans call for a wall, and Democrats say we need fencing instead of “Trump’s wall.” Republicans call for a “border wall,” and Democrats say they are in favor of “border security.”

Is it any wonder the American people hold Congress in such low esteem? Congress enjoys a public approval of 28 percent.

Elections have consequences, and Congress has rules.

So, how will this one end? I hope President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE sticks to his promises and principles on border security. The president has already shown good faith in the amount of funds he has requested for a fixed barrier along our southern border. He is being responsible in seeking “pay as you go” funding for border security. A $5 billion appropriation is more than fair, and needed.

The president needs to call the Democrats’ bluff. He perhaps needs to set a new, painful record for a government shutdown that will teach Democrats a lesson they will not soon forget.

Kicking the can down the road, only to create a crisis that is purely avoidable and political, is unacceptable. A long, protracted shutdown will make future shutdowns a third rail that no one will want to touch. There is no way the public sector workforce should be pawns in a political squabble that costs more in lost wages and revenue than the budget disagreement itself.

President Trump was elected on a platform that included immigration reforms and border security. For most Democrats, their opposition is to the president himself — not the subject matter or spending.

And for President Trump, this is a “read my lips” moment. He cannot retreat on a fundamental promise. He must stand his ground. He must deliver.

Promises made must be promises kept.

Bradley Blakeman was a deputy assistant to President George Bush from 2001 to 2004. A principal of the 1600 Group, a strategic communications firm, he is an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business.