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12 February 2019, 12:25 GMT / Updated on 12 February 2019, 12:29 GMT
From Jonathan Allen
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump had written the perfect script for the unofficial launch of his re-election campaign in El Paso, Texas.
Back on the course on Monday evening – amidst a wave of Democrats entering the 2020 race and with the backdrop of an iconic border crossing – the president was about to tell the story of an extremist rival party hostile to border security and from the wall that he would build, hell or high water came.
But just before he entered the stage, the script turned around.
Back in Washington, Trump learned, Congress had just demolished his wall.
A twofold group of House and Senate negotiators – no doubt aware of when Trump would start to speak – sent Monday night that they had signed a deal to prevent a shutdown and to call Homeland Security and other federal agencies on Friday to open. Democrats had quickly dropped the question of the number of undocumented immigrants who could lock up federal authorities that were delaying the negotiations, and the Republicans had agreed to limit new border settlements to 55 miles.
In other words, no wall.
It was a predictable result: when Trump announced last month that he was closing a self-inflicted 35-day partial government break, it was clear that he was piloting the white flag of surrendering an imaginary watchtower on the vacant wall. But the last image of the slow capitulation of the president could not come at a worse time for him.
He was minutes away from accusing Democrats of risking a second stop from the government about what he says his extreme left-wing immigration policy putting the personal and financial security of Americans at risk. He said he believes it is a winning issue for him – and a losing one for them – despite the fact that he was campaigning about immigration during the midterm elections and democrats that were cleverly won by the country.
But it will be more difficult for Trump to paint Democrats as radicals – either in Congress or on the President's campaign path – after the Republicans have signed the border security agreement with them. Now Trump will have to decide whether he wants to move against both sides in Congress, whether he wants to close the government over the wall or declare a national emergency and if he thinks he's a salesman who is good enough to get the arguments Defend that Democrats are extremists when his position on the wall is the minority.
Trump was not measured by the new information on Monday night.
"They said that progress is being made with this committee," he said at the meeting. & # 39; So, you know, we build the wall anyway. & # 39;
He also continued to say that the Democrats are open borders, even because they had just agreed to spend billions of dollars more on border security.
"The Democratic Party has never been outside the mainstream," he said. "They become the party of socialism, abortion in the long term, open borders and crime."
That is, the logic and the facts were not the strong arguments of his argument.
But it is understandable that Trump – who gave the Alamo a shoutout during his remarks – did not want to convert the spectacle of his first major campaign collection of the presidential election season into a recognition that he had just suffered another stabbing defeat on the central promise of his last campaign.
He had been looking forward to this moment in every way, including his own. There can be little doubt that Trump, after having won the presidential race in recent months, was more than ready to let go. And as he said Monday night, it was "more fun" to go to a campaign than to give his State of the Union address last week.
The next part – the reality of the congress that once again rejects its wall – promises to be a lot less fun.