On Friday, President Trump agreed to temporarily reopen the federal government with nothing allocated for a border wall, after shutting down the government for 35 days in an attempt to secure money for a border wall. Trump’s poll numbers took a major dive — to as low as 37 percent — as many saw his decision to fabricate a shutdown and receive nothing for it as a Bill Buckner-level forced error. On Friday, reporters used the word “cave” to describe Trump’s actions in over a dozen headlines, so often that Merriam-Webster reports a 1500 percent increase in searches for the word — presumably, for its function as a verb.
Among conservative media, the word is being thrown around among other, harsher criticisms of the president. Ann Coulter tweeted that the shutdown end was “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.” Mike Cernovich got Trump with a mean, if extremely mixed, metaphor, calling him the “commander-in-soy” and Speaker Pelosi an “alpha.” Although these insults may not affect the president in any immediate way, voices like Cernovich and Coulter are popular among Trump’s base, and could dampen his already quiet numbers in the heartland. According to a recent poll, Trump now has a 52 percent disapproval rating in Wisconsin, a key battleground state for Republicans in 2020.
Despite his off-script remarks of victory from the Rose Garden today, Trump appears to be extremely frustrated with his decision to cave. According to the Washington Post, he asked “Why are they always so loyal?” in a staff meeting, surprised that Democrats did not concede to his wall funding demands. The president has reportedly put the blame for the shutdown he created on his staff — including Jared Kushner, who was confident he could convince Democrats to vote on Thursday for a $5.7 billion deal for wall money in the Senate. Another to blame: Paul Ryan, who Trump reportedly said had “screwed him” by not providing wall funding when Republicans had purse control in the House.
As the federal government enjoys a short three weeks of funding, some in the White House appear to operating under a sense of delusion. According to the Washington Post, Mitch McConnell said that on Friday, Trump claimed “he had come up with the idea for a three-week deal” — after Democrats floated a three-week bill in the Senate the day before. As Trump tries to secure wall funding during the temporary opening, a senior White House official told the Post that the administration has received “dozens of signals” from Democrats who were prepared to give money for the wall. But when asked for names of such lawmakers, the official declined to name anybody.