After a record-breaking 35 days, the longest shutdown in government history is over…for three weeks.
The recent short-term spending bill signed by President Trump on January 25, though only a temporary funding measure, came largely as a result of pressure over the inability for federal employees to work – or, in some cases, be forced to work without pay. The bill doesn’t include Trump’s longstanding $5.7 billion budget demand for a border wall, hence the three week limit – but it is at least something of a rare compromise between Democrats and the president.
Or concession, some Republicans might say. Trump has been criticized by some conservatives, including even some of his most stalwart supporters, for caving into Democrat demands and ending the shutdown with a bill not addressing his border wall rather than remaining stubborn in not signing such a bill in the first place.
Trump has done his best to combat these critics, as well as the Democrats whose demands ultimately led to the momentary end of the shutdown. Trump has denied any accusations of concession to his conservative critics, instead explaining his actions as necessary for those Americans affected by the shutdown and placing the blame on the Democrats who have been adamant in denying his demands for a border wall.
In fact, Trump has seemed almost obsessive in his intent to shift blame away from himself and instead onto Republicans, Democrats, and even his own staff in this dispute over the government shutdown – something that has manifested most prominently in his yet unfulfilled promise to build a wall on the Mexican border. And yet for all of his efforts, Trump’s attempt to build an image portraying himself as blameless and instead praiseworthy for reopening the government has, for the most part, failed.
A January 31st Washington Post-ABC poll had Trump’s disapproval rating trending at 58 percent, with only a 37 percent approval rate. Americans also seem to place the majority of the blame on the president, with 53 percent blaming him and other Republicans for the government shutdown. This is opposed to only 34 percent for Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats.
In the end, Trump’s twin failures in both accomplishing his goal of passing a budget for the border wall and finding a way to keep the government open before the historically long shutdown – or at least shift the blame away from himself in his doing so – only serve as a further development in his waning popularity and increasingly ineffective tenure as president. Though the recent bill passed by Trump is only a temporary one, it is still a clear indication of his inability to achieve his goals while still being able to avoid a shutdown and as a result harm to countless Americans, to say the least for his popularity.
For those affected by Trump’s actions, however, the bill is a major victory. Whether Trump is successful in building his border wall or not, it looks as if the government shutdown is finally coming to an end – and that is something that all Americans can be happy about.
Brandon Kim, Grade 10
Culver City High School