By STEVE PEOPLES
NEW YORK (Good Politic) – There is no easy way out.
While the government's third closure by President Donald Trump's government was prolonged on its twentieth day, political pressure on Trump and the Democrats left little room for compromise in the clash over the financing of a border wall. Trump's close attention to the desires of his most ardent supporters persuaded him that he can not reverse his signature campaign promise without facing reprisals. Some powerful Republican allies in Washington and beyond are clamoring for his $ 5.7 billion financing for the wall, though some remain uncomfortable.
For Democrats, general skepticism about Trump's plea for the wall, combined with grassroots impetus to stand up to the Republican president, assured them that they refused to let go.
The question is whether the impact of closure on government services and the plight of federal workers in trouble forces Republican legislators to break with the president or force Democrats to move. Until then, the dispute gave the two sides a quick first test in the politics of a divided government as they tried to blame the blame, manage their messages and strike a balance between political wings. rivals.
Each party appeared even more deeply entrenched after a meeting at the White House between Democratic and Trump Democrat leaders on Wednesday, while the economic livelihoods of some 800,000 federal workers are at stake. Trump said that he had The meeting was quickly called to an end after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats would not fund her wall under any circumstances.
Trump's attention is now firmly focused on his conservative base and his support for the wall that has come to symbolize his promise of an intransigent and uncompromising approach to immigration.
"He was elected because of this wall," said Trump's confidant, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Evangelical Liberty University.
Falwell said that he had told Trump that he was doing what he should. "I do not think it will help him at all if he backs up."
The White House aides are largely in agreement. Officials argue that the issue is a political winner, although they urged the president to be more aggressive in pushing his case to the public – and hesitant Republican lawmakers.
Trump presented his argument in graphic terms in an address to an oval office in prime time on Tuesday night. While several studies suggest that illegal immigration has no impact on crime rates, the president pointed out the horrible crimes committed by immigrants and suggested that his wall was necessary to avoid this "crisis".
"How much more American blood do we have to pay before Congress does its job?" Asked Trump, who plans to travel to the border on Thursday, the day of the partial closure of the government.
The longest stop was 21 days in 1995-96, when Bill Clinton was president.
The White House has looked for options – but no compromise. The administration has explored the possibility of funding the huge wall without congressional approval by declaring a national emergency or using funds from another department, although such measures would trigger almost certainly a legal challenge and could push some congressional Republicans to bankruptcy.
Trump acknowledged Wednesday the political pressure within his own party not to back down.
"If I did something silly, like giving up border security, the first to hit me would be my senators – they would be angry at me. The second would be the house. And the third would frankly be my base and many Republicans and many Democrats who want to see border security, "he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Republican criticism of the president is rare.
Vice President Mike Pence was applauded during a closed meeting of Congressional Republicans on Tuesday after he told them to "stay firm" and quoted a quote from CS Lewis on Courage as virtue. Nearly two dozen Republicans – a tiny fraction of the 199 Republicans sitting in the House – are expected to join Democrats in the House this week by passing a bill to reopen areas of government.
Republican members of the Senate have misperceived Trump's strategy, although few have had a strong political incentive to break with the president, as very few expect easy re-election in 2020 .
Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the closure "completely useless and unnatural." People expect their government to work … it obviously does not work. "
At the same time, newly elected Senator Kevin Cramer was more representative of the atmosphere in his caucus when he said that returning voters believe that Trump is doing the right thing: "They like him. . And they want the wall. "
The support of the GOP contrasts with most Americans, who do not approve of Trump's performance. His approval rate has hovered around 40% or less for much of his presidency. But Trump's approval in the Republican party jumped nearly 90%.
The sharp demarcation line is reflected in the public opinion on the wall.
In total, 54% of Americans oppose the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, according to a Quinnipiac poll released in December. At the same time, 86% of Republicans supported the proposal.
These figures have helped keep the United Democrats in opposition.
The two party leaders on the Hill and the few presidential candidates who are starting to fight over the Democratic nomination have called on Democrats to remain strong.
Billionaire activist Tom Steyer began posting ads in key states calling for Trump's removal well before the tragedy began.
"It's not a question of whether Democrats are offline," Steyer said. "What (Trump) is trying to extort from the Democratic Congress with the pain of the American people. It is as if someone had kidnapped a child and held him hostage to his election promise, which then made no sense, made no sense and was an incredible waste. "
Steyer said on Wednesday that he had ruled against a candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.
The competing force of Democratic leaders lies in the pressure they have to prove that they can restore some stability in Trump Washington. Despite calls by the Liberal base to stand up to Trump, party leaders say they won big at mid-term last year talking about portfolio issues and promising to govern. They are eager to keep that promise.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz suggested there would be little political price to pay for those associated with the government's prolonged closure, even though most Americans blame Trump and his party.
"For most people, their daily lives are not affected," Luntz said.
A frequent critic of Trump, he predicted that the Republican president would find a way to escape the closure as a political winner, although that seemed unlikely now.
"Is he boxing? I would say no. He is the Harry Houdini of American politics, "said Luntz. "He had a 38% chance of winning on election day and he still won."
Associated Press editors Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.