President Trump is likely to sign the congressional border agreement that falls far short of the wall funding he previously demanded — and it’ll be pretty difficult for him to “spin” this as a victory, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg argued Tuesday.
The agreement reached by a bipartisan committee includes $1.375 billion for physical barriers, 55 miles of fencing, no cap on immigrants detained in the U.S., more resources to immigration programs, and a path to reduce Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds. Trump told reporters he wasn’t “happy” with what was presented to him just days before Friday’s deadline that would have triggered another government shutdown.
On Tuesday’s “Special Report” All-Star panel, Goldberg — along with Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway and National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar — weighed in on the political pros and cons for the president regarding the deal made by Congress.
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Goldberg began by telling the panel that the agreement was “not a great triumph” for the president, especially since the amount of money he’s getting for the wall is smaller than what was agreed to before the partial government shutdown.
“I think that he has probably no choice into signing it because either you get a shutdown, if you try to go to the continuing resolution amount that’s pegged to current spending levels, he’ll get even less money,” Goldberg said. “He’s gonna sign it and I would suspect he either declares an emergency or starts moving money around [and] creates a new fight. If he declares an emergency, the courts will stop it, but he gets to say ‘I tried.’ That would be a political win for him, but it’s not a great deal.”
While Goldberg expressed that the Trump administration “should have gotten its $5 billion, he noted that the shutdown didn’t sway public opinion and led to less money for the wall.
“I don’t think you can spin that as a political win,” Goldberg added.
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Hemingway declared the deal a “genuine compromise bill,” but noted that’s a compromise between “people who actually want to do something about border security” and “people who want to do nothing about border security.”
“The issue is not just about Trump, it’s not just about politics, but it’s about national sovereignty and our borders and whether they mean anything. And for people who care about those issues, it’s a loss,” Hemingway told the panel.
Kraushaar agreed with Goldberg and Hemingway, adding that for Trump to agree with the deal would allow him to “argue other issues that are more favorable to him.”