Doing nothing "clearly worked."
Now that Democrats have helped to end the Trump shutdown, the White House is hard at work demonstrating what a failure Donald Trump has been throughout the whole debacle.
On Monday, Democrats struck a deal to reopen the government until Feb. 8, securing six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a vote on DACA in the process. The deal sets up a hard deadline for Republicans to either make good on the political cover they’ve been using the DREAMers for, or shut the government down again.
A key narrative to emerge from the shutdown was Trump’s total disengagement during the process. After blowing up a deal to avoid the shutdown and releasing a racist campaign ad accusing Democrats of murder for supporting immigration reform, Trump holed up in the White House for the weekend, posing for pictures with his empty desk.
As it turns out, Trump’s absence was considered a blessing by advisers who fear his erraticism.
That narrative got an unexpected boost Monday when, barely an hour after the shutdown ended, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Trump’s lack of leadership during the crisis.
CBS News Radio correspondent Steve Portnoy asked Sanders to respond to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s criticism that negotiating with Trump is like “negotiating with Jell-O.”
“Was it a concerted effort on the president’s part not to reach out to him this weekend?” Portnoy asked.
“What the president did clearly worked,” Sanders responded with unearned smugness, noting that Trump’s disengagement allowed the crisis to be solved by Schumer.
Trump’s involvement in these negotiations has been disastrous for nearly everyone involved.
When he held an on-camera photo op to bolster his claim of mental stability, he wound up agreeing to a clean DACA fix and promising to sign any bipartisan deal he was presented. Then he went on a racist tirade during a bipartisan meeting, broke both of those promises, and scuttled a deal with Schumer that would have avoided the shutdown.
For once, Sanders is right: If Republicans and Democrats are to reach a deal to protect DREAMers, the less Trump is involved, the better.