With the release of Donald Trump’s latest legislative folly, we are once again reminded that Trump is the worst deal-maker in Washington. In fact, he doesn’t do deals at all because he doesn’t negotiate with the actual people he’s supposed to be persuading. Instead, Trump just makes announcements about imaginary deals that exist only in his head.
For instance, when Trump made a big weekend announcement of a deal that would supposedly extend deportation protections to Dreamers in exchange for wall funding, it wasn’t something he had even run by Democrats—the people he was supposed to be wooing to his side. And by the time we finally got a look at the actual text of the legislation, it wasn’t even minimally related to the deal Trump announced. As the conservative CATO Institute think tank noted, the “Senate GOP Bill Doesn’t Extend DACA. It Guts It.” Under the new plan, the number of Dreamers eligible for protections under the DACA plan would effectively be cut in half, to some 700,000. The U.S. asylum program would also be butchered, making asylum claims more difficult to win and downsizing the program to a mere shadow of its former self, with a cap of 15,000 grants per year.
As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted, the asylum changes are a “poison pill” from the get-go. “Contrary to the president’s claims,” Schumer told reporters, “it hardly represents a softening of his position. If anything, it’s even more radical. No one—no one—can call this new effort a compromise.” (Which is why Schumer and Mitch McConnell announced a deal shortly thereafter that would offer up a short-term spending bill.)
In fact, what’s most baffling about Trump’s new (and now dead) “deal” announcement that was presumably supposed to put the squeeze on Democrats is why Trump and Senate Republicans made it so fricking easy for Democrats to walk away from it without a second thought.
Perhaps if they had spoken to any Democrats, or, better yet, had negotiated with them, they might have known it was a laughable offer. But negotiating has never been Trump’s thing. Here’s a little window into how actively involved Trump was with “negotiating” the GOP’s failed healthcare bill, per a new book by former White House communications aide Cliff Sims. The Washington Post writes:
Sims recounts one time when Ryan was in the Oval Office explaining the ins and outs of the Republican health-care bill to the president. As Ryan droned on for 15 minutes, Trump sipped on a glass of Diet Coke, peered out at the Rose Garden, stared aimlessly at the walls and, finally, walked out.
Ryan kept talking as the president wandered down the hall to his private dining room, where he flicked on his giant flat-screen TV. Apparently, he had had enough of Ryan’s talk. It fell to Vice President Pence to retrieve Trump and convince him to return to the Oval Office so they could continue their strategy session.
Ahh, the art of no deal strikes again.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.