On Feb. 14 a deal was passed that averted a renewed shutdown of the federal government. The Democrats agreed to fund border “fencing” to the tune of $1.375 billion. Trump, in a surprise move, went on television and declared a “national emergency” at the border, claiming he has the power as President to make such a declaration and then divert other funds to building a border wall.
This is an unpopular move and is generating criticism even from Trump’s own extreme right wing base as being unconstitutional: since Congress denied the full amount of funding that Trump wanted, he is claiming executive power to declare an “emergency” and get the money by diverting funds already earmarked for other things (primarily military construction).
In what the New York Times described as a “rambling” speech, Trump made countless racist accusations against immigrants, describing these workers in terms of “crime” and “drugs.” The use of such racist stereotypes, not supported by any facts, is an open call for violence against immigrants. All progressive and revolutionary people must defend immigrants and condemn racist attacks and stereotyping.
Social media is full of people making fun of Trump’s declaration of “emergency.” Countless statuses are dedicated to people’s own lists of things that actually constitute “national emergencies:” homelessness, police terror, for-profit healthcare, impending climate disaster underfunded schools and so on. Trump touted his rally in El Paso as proof of support for “the Wall,” but it was dwarfed by a counter rally.
Shutdown deal-Democrats cave
Part of what is generating outrage on the part of liberals is that the Democrats in Congress “compromised” and gave Trump a stunningly large amount of money for what they called “fencing” (not a wall.) This goes against how traditionally the bipartisan negotiation game is played. The business as usual routine would be: Trump asks for a huge amount of money, Democrats counter with a lesser amount, grandstand as if they are actually standing up for something, get some other kind of concession, agreement reached!
But that’s not how it played out. Now we see: Trump asks for huge amount of money, Democrats essentially agree with the aims (“border security”) disagreeing about the means without denouncing the racist anti-immigrant rhetoric, counter with a lesser amount, finalize a deal for lesser amount without any other concessions in order to avert shutdown and….Trump claims he can fully fund the wall anyway regardless of what Congress has agreed to.
This is what is outraging the liberals—not the racism, not the attacks on migrants who are in motion as a direct result of imperialist policies—but Trump’s refusal to play the game. This is why so many even very conservative figures (for example the very despicable Ann Coulter) are coming out against him. His latest move is essentially an attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This is why the political establishment, liberal and conservative, hate Trump, not because he is a militant racist and misogynist but because he is unpredictable and clearly is incapable of serving the interests of the capitalist class as a whole.