Donald, Nancy and Chuck Hit a Wall

I just saw Trump on MSNBC, from Fort Myers, saying there would be no agreement on DACA that didn’t include funding for his wall.

“We have to have an understanding…that the wall will be funded,” the president said on the Ft. Myers’ tarmac. “Otherwise we’re not doing any deal.”

“If we don’t have the wall,” he said, “we’re doing nothing.”

This is a shift from what he said earlier this morning, before he left Washington for Florida. Earlier this morning, he just said “strong border security” without making the wall a condition. The wall would be funded later, he said.

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Josh Marshall wrote, also before Trump got to Fort Myers —

The word this morning is that leaders Pelosi and Schumer say Trump agreed to make DACA law as part of a deal that upped funding for “border security” but not for a wall. But Trump came out and said there’s no deal. So it’s all a mess and a big dispute.

I think if you look closely, that’s not quite what happened….

…The Democrats came out of the meeting last night saying they’d agreed to make DACA law as part of a bill that would include border security but not a wall. The White House put out a different statement that didn’t say quite the same thing but very conspicuously did not mention the wall.

Was this a “deal” or “agreement”? The Dems didn’t say they had a “deal”, which I take to mean they’d hashed out the specifics and terms. They said they’d agreed to do this kind of legislation: DACA plus Border Security minus Wall. This is basically a semantic difference. The words (deal or agreement) can mean anything you want them to. The key thing in my mind is that if you look closely, I don’t see where they’re really disagreeing on what happened. If Trump or the White House had come out this morning and said, “No way. The price for DACA is the Wall,” that would be a major disagreement. They have not done that.

However, what he was saying in Fort Myers just now was that they had to agree to fund the wall some time in the future, or the deal or agreement or whatever is off.

Let’s just say that Trump has a bad case of the flip flops, and not just about DACA. Today, Gail Collins writes that Trump shifts positions on tax cuts almost hourly. His only written tax plan, which he insists that Congress enact immediately, fits on one page.

Still, Trump is ready to roll. Details, schmeetails. “With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before,” he tweeted. “Go Congress, go!” Negative thinkers pointed out that the hurricane devastation required federal spending, not revenue reduction. Also that “is needed” was grammatically — tragic.

Plus, again, the no-plan thing. “It’s really important for people to understand — the administration is urging Congress to vote fast on a proposal that doesn’t exist,” said Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center. The center made a rather heroic effort to figure out what the consequences would be if you cobbled a proposal out of all the tax stuff Trump has mentioned, and concluded it would add about $8 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.

People keep calling Trump a deal-maker, but the truth is he doesn’t do deals. A “deal” means that two or more parties have agreed to terms for their mutual benefit, and that they all intend to abide by those terms. Trump has a long and well-known history of getting people to agree to his business plans by making promises he doesn’t keep and had no intention of keeping them when he made them. Such an arrangement is not a “deal”; it is a “grift.”