On Monday, President Trump announced the latest phase of the government shutdown over funding a wall on the border—the presidential Oval Office address.
The primetime speech, which all of the major networks and cable stations have credulously agreed to cover, is the latest attempt by Trump to gin up a crisis on the southern border that the American people increasingly aren’t buying. Trump aides have reportedly told the president that the calls for a wall or slats or whatever, haven’t moved the needle on the contrived standoff that is the three-week long government shutdown. So expect a shift into rhetorical overdrive on the *crisis* on the border that only an emergency wall that will take years to construct can solve.
With the White House losing momentum on the arbitrary timing of the arbitrary wall backed by arbitrary levels of funding, Trump needed to make a move to make his big idea seem, well, less arbitrary and more like a crisis. Hence, you have White House surrogates disingenuously talking terrorism again on news talk shows and the president of the United States casually suggesting he might go full dictator and use executive emergency powers to push through what he has been unable to do through the normal channels of governance. Make no mistake, Trump has been unable to actualize his wall policy during two full years with Republican control over both houses of congress because he is monumentally bad at his job and building a wall is not only asinine, it is definitionally not a crisis, let alone an emergency.
Since there’s no actual crisis, Trump is here to create one. Again. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have anything to do. The White House says Trump will then head to the border (again) on Thursday to take a tour of some sort. Remember when Trump sent troops to the border right before the midterm election? To steel the nation against the threat of desperate migrants walking north more than a thousand miles away?
The crisis is not on the border, it’s in the Oval Office.