John and I don’t always agree about President Trump, but I agree with his assessment of Trump’s address tonight on immigration/the partial government shutdown. Trump laid out a common sense case for the need to fund border security and build more wall (or whatever one prefers to call it).
I’m pretty sure most Americans agree with the substance of what Trump said. I also believe that Americans overwhelmingly agree that, even if the wall isn’t as important as Trump says, it would be reasonable for Democrats to agree to the funding request as part of a compromise that ends the partial shutdown.
Some people who would normally agree with the substance of Trump’s talk, or at least find it unobjectionable, balk because Trump is the messenger. There’s nothing Trump can do about that phenomenon at this late date.
However, Trump’s presentation tonight was calm and reasoned. There was no bombast and no name-calling — indeed, none of the stuff that many find off-putting. The case he made was a straightforward blend of facts and common sense, with no gratuitous attacks on Democrats.
I’m sure the fact-checkers are examining all of the numbers Trump cited. They may find, or at least allege, some sort of disparity here or there. But I think Trump’s address was free of hyperbole and exaggeration. If he erred on any particular, the error was trivial.
Trump abstained from declaring a national emergency and announcing an intention to build more wall without congressional funding. This was a good call even assuming Trump has the power to so act and could win the legal battle over this.
Trump has a good hand to play. He would forfeit that hand by acting unilaterally, and it’s far from clear that the Supreme Court would back him in that event.