Press: Trump wastes 35 days for nothing

Press: Trump wastes 35 days for nothing
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When it was all over, what was the Trump Shutdown all about? A giant, cruel, unnecessary, ill-considered, and ineffective nothing burger. Nobody got helped, and everybody involved got hurt.

Hurt most of all was Donald Trump, who engineered the shutdown in the first place, claimed credit for it, bragged about it and, by hiding out in the White House for 35 days, tried to paint himself a victim of it. And what did he achieve? Absolutely nothing. He ended up right back where he started, signing basically the same deal he first accepted, and then rejected, in late December.

Actually, the only thing Trump accomplished was destroying his reputation as a great deal-maker. He’s now unmasked for what he really is: a flim-flam artist who lies, makes threats and talks tough, but can’t deliver. What do you call a man who declares for 35 days he will never accept any deal that does not include $5.7 billion for his wall and then folds without a dime? The headline in the New York Daily News said it all: “CAVE MAN.”

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Trump couldn’t have dragged the shutdown out so long, of course, without the monumentally stupid, heartless and blind support of Senate Republicans, who lost whatever little was left of their reputation for being independent lawmakers. Instead, they formed a shameful chorus of unthinking yes men, led by Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump allies throw jabs at Bolton over book's claims GOP confident of win on witnesses Collins Senate bid threatens to spark GOP rift in Georgia MORE (R-Ky.), arguably the least effective Senate leader ever.

Name any former Senate leader, Republican or Democrat: Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas), Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.), Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), George Mitchell (D-Maine), Bob Dole (R-Kan.), Trent Lott (R-Miss.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), or Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum The Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial MORE (D-Nev.). Not one of them would ever have surrendered the power of Congress the way McConnell did, vowing not even to debate any bill the president had not agreed to sign ahead of time — thereby making the Senate nothing but a division of the executive branch. And, to their shame, in response to McConnell’s alarming show of cowardice, Republican senators raised not a peep of protest.

Left in the lurch, sadly, were some 800,000 federal employees and their families, who, whether furloughed or required to show up for work without getting paid, were forced to choose between several indignities: roll up their credit card debt; get an emergency bank loan; deplete their rainy-day fund; tap family and friends; visit the local soup kitchen; or try to find temporary work walking dogs, washing cars, changing diapers or driving Uber.

Adjectives fail. It’s abhorrent, unfair, unconscionable and just downright heartless for the richest and most powerful country on earth to treat American workers that way. Shame on us that we allowed President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE and Republicans in Congress to drag the shutdown out so long without riots in the streets. If members of Congress have any sense of decency, they will soon pass legislation proposed by Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision Democrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  MORE (D-Va.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP confident of win on witnesses Republicans signal renewed confidence they'll avoid witness fight The Hill's Morning Report - Bolton charge ups ante in witness showdown MORE (R-Tenn.) to make future shutdowns illegal. The essential functions of government should not be determined by presidential temper tantrums.

With so many government services shut down, there were no real winners in the Trump Shutdown. The only ones to emerge unscathed were House and Senate Democrats, who maintained their opening position: Reopen the government, then debate border security, but not one dollar for the wall — a position Trump reluctantly agreed to, two days after he also agreed to postpone his State of the Union address.

If you’re keeping score, make it Pelosi 2, Trump 0. Does anybody in the House still think it was a good idea to dump Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats offer mixed reactions to Trump's Mideast peace plan James Taylor to perform at awards ceremony for Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week Trump offers two-state peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid skepticism MORE and replace her with a rookie?

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”