My strong suspicion is that the conversation is going to be less about making Trump happy and more about putting together a reasonable package, even a smaller one, because immigration is an incredibly complex issue and three weeks is probably not enough to get it done. So some sort of Band-aid package that allows him to get out of this with some sort of face, no wall and a long, hard conversation from the people in the Republican Congress, Mitch Mcconnell and the rest of them, about the the exact weight of the building that will fall on him and the entire Republican party if he either shuts down the government again or declares an emergency for a non-existent emergency and winds up immediately in court and doesn’t get his money anyway. Friday was one of the happiest days that I’ve had in a really, really long time, but we are still like 40 miles of bad road ahead of us before anything starts to make sense again. That’s just the fact.
BETWEEN THE LINES: Are you concerned that a coalition of moderate Democrats and Republicans in the House would put together a package of $5.7 billion of funding for a “smart” wall, more agents, more immigration judges? Are you concerned that this would validate Trump’s declaration that there was an emergency at the border, that they would confirm to his base that he was right all along, that the Democrats closed down the government unnecessarily because they didn’t come over to Trump’s side.
WILLIAM RIVERS PITT: It bothers me. It bothers me deeply. And if we had more than three weeks to kick it around, I’m certain that we could probably come up with something. But this is disaster government, like disaster capitalism. The guy is the guy who set the building on fire. Now he’s haggling over the price of the hose. There’s no, there is absolutely no emergency down at the border. But if this guy goes and shuts the government down, we already saw what was about to happen. It is a damn miracle that nobody got killed with the airline safety being affected the way it was. The other areas that the shutdown was affecting: women battered, women’s shelters were being closed down because they lacked funding. I have not read any reports that someone who was being abused was unable to get to a shelter and was hurt or killed, but that could very easily have happened.
Medical (treatment) on native reservations essentially ceased to exist. So there were people being hurt there. If the event had gone on much longer, we were going to get into money for SNAP and a variety of other issues that the White House didn’t give a tinker’s damn about. All they were focused on was airline travel because – there was some funny guy on TV the other day. I can’t remember; I think it might’ve been Bill Maher. Yeah, the reason why he opened the government again is because his rich friends were telling them they couldn’t get from D.C. to Washington.
BETWEEN THE LINES: Right, right, right.
WILLIAM RIVERS PITT: The unfortunate truth is that the threat of the shutdown is very real and we’re going to have to face him down and force him to do it again rather than give him this stupid wall. But I suspect that if an opportunity to come up with something, especially if it includes protections, permanent protections for the Dreamers, the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Act kids, then we can fold that into whatever this happens to be and just choke on the increase in agents and the electric wall, that might be something that would happen. It would make me deeply unhappy, but I am casting around for alternatives given the people we’re dealing with and I’m not coming up with very many.