By The Editorial Board. Tha Wall Street Journal
Donald Trump is sore at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying recently that the President sometimes has “excessive expectations” for Congress. But Mr. Trump proved Mr. McConnell right Tuesday when he told a rally in Phoenix that he’s willing to shut down the federal government this autumn to get funding for his border wall with Mexico.
“We’re going to get our wall,” Mr. Trump said. “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
The crowd loved it, but this is the political equivalent of holding a gun to his own head and saying that if Congress doesn’t do what he wants Mr. Trump will shoot himself. Don’t expect Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to try to talk Mr. Trump out of it. As the minority party, Democrats will be only to happy to test Mr. Trump’s dare since voters will blame a shutdown on Republicans who run both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Senate Democrats are vowing not to spend a dime on the wall and Mr. Trump will need 60 Senate votes to pass a funding bill.
GOP leaders on Capitol Hill know they’ll take the political blame for a shutdown, so they don’t want to press wall funding too far. All the more so because the border wall isn’t all that popular even with Republican voters, who have higher priorities like tax reform and a more robust military.
With an approval rating well under 40%, Mr. Trump isn’t in a strong political position to win a fight with Congress unless he is pressing for something that is already popular. It’s never clear with Mr. Trump how much of his rhetoric is real or bluster, but the shutdown over the wall is one threat he’d be wise to abandon.
Your Editor Notes: This is NOT The New York Times NOR -The Washington Post . It’s the Wall Street Journal.