Earlier today, a post appeared on this site with the title: Stop Whining About Trump Signing The Omnibus Bill. The author is under no illusions about this being a bad bill. But, he concludes, any other Republican would have signed it, and people who don’t like it should direct their ire exclusively at Congress:

So please continue railing on President Trump. I know he could have, should have, done more and those are all legit arguments.

Still, had a Republican-controlled Congress had the guts to send him a bill after a bruising fight in both chambers to actually reduce the deficit even further from FY 2016-2017 he would have signed that too.

Stop whining about the President.

Start yelling at the GOP in Congress.

I’d like to respectfully take issue with the author. In my view, those of us who are infuriated by this bill are within our rights to yell at all of them. Yell at Paul Ryan? Absolutely. Run him out of town on a rail. Yell at Mitch McConnell? Hell yes!

Why can’t we yell at Trump too?

Yes, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are at least equally to blame for this travesty as Trump, and probably more so. I have pointed that out before the bill was passed, and I would spend more time railing about that, except that literally everyone who reads this post already understands that.

But while most people also seem to understand that Trump shares blame, there is a diehard group out there who doesn’t — and that’s who I’m talking to here. This is a group that has reflexively supported everything Trump does for months now, and they have seemingly lost the ability to form a sentence that criticizes the man.

I’ll say what they’re unable to say. Trump is to blame as well.

What gets me is how easy it would have been for Trump to make a difference, if he had just put his mind to it. In this post I want to focus on two issues that an active and engaged Donald Trump absolutely could have influenced with the bully pulpit: funding Planned Parenthood and funding sanctuary cities.

I should not have to make the arguments against these two outrageous funding decisions, but here’s a brief reminder of what Trump could have said.

Planned Parenthood: At the heart of conservatism is support for life, and opposition to abortion. Nobody kills more babies in America than Planned Parenthood. They cover up statutory rape, speak gleefully about selling baby parts, and even alter their abortion techniques to harvest that tissue. They support partial-birth abortion, which involves stabbing babies in the head and vacuuming out their brains. The United States Government should not be giving them money. Period.

And the idea that we would give them money with a nominally Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate, and a Republican president is outrageous.

Sanctuary cities: Kate Steinle is dead because a sanctuary city was given temporary custody of a criminal alien in the custody of ICE, and then refused to give him back to ICE — sending him instead out into our streets to shoot and kill a beautiful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. The mayor of Oakland learns that ICE is going to conduct a raid, to arrest criminal aliens including violent gang members, and she runs to the press to warn them. The officials who foist these deadly policies on the public have no right to do it. Immigration is a federal priority and they are undermining a critical policy that lies outside their jurisdiction. They need to be punished. Sanctuary cities must be defunded.

And the idea that we would give them money with a nominally Republican-controlled House, a Republican-controlled Senate, and a Republican president is outrageous.

These are central issues for Trump’s base. I know Trump doesn’t care about Planned Parenthood, but his base does — and they sure as hell care about sanctuary cities, as he says he does too. Yet he sat on his McDonald’s-fed posterior for weeks while pols in smoke-filled back rooms drafted a plan to continue to fund these monstrosities — and he didn’t say a word.

His silence can’t be defended on the grounds that we needed to avoid a shutdown. There was no good reason NOT to fight these battles. These are righteous causes. There will not be a better time to have this fight — and if you always wait for the ideal time, it will never come. What, do you think the GOP is going to gain seats in Congress this year? No: it will be a long time before the GOP again has the kind of power it has today. Right now.

That’s why this was the time to fight.

In 2013, Kurt Schlichter of Townhall wrote an excellent column about Ted Cruz’s crusade to defund ObamaCare, titled What If They Gave a Shutdown and No One Cared? Schlichter’s column was excellent and stirring, packed with lines like this:

What Ted Cruz did – and what the go-along, get-along gang of Republican stegosauruses hate – is that he fought. He fought. There’s a huge value to drawing a line, to taking a stand, to rallying the troops. . . . This was really about the war between the growing conservative majority in the GOP and the dying GOP establishment minority. It’s a war that must be fought, and which we should welcome. And it’s a war we conservatives will win.

Inspiring words. The fighting spirit is what made it a great column.

What’s different now? If anything, the difference is that the GOP has more nominal power now than it had then. Then, we had a Democrat in the White House. Now, we have a Republican. And that is all the more reason to fight now.

But Donald Trump didn’t want to fight. And, worse, he didn’t even know what was going on, apparently, until he watched teevee the morning of the signing. That’s when he realized that Fox & Friends didn’t like the bill. I can’t think of another reasonable way to explain the fact that, just the day before, Trump had sent Mick Mulvaney out to assure America that Trump would sign this bill.

Trump’s options were not just “sign it” or “veto it.” His options also included “get involved EARLY and don’t be an out-of-touch doofus who learns everything on Fox & Friends.” Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities should have been child’s play. All it required was for Trump to have been awake and get involved well before the final day.

But he didn’t. Because he doesn’t care about policy. He cares about himself. As the same Kurt Schlichter said in another excellent column from December 2015: Trump Is Going to Break Your Heart.

Donald Trump is out for one thing, Donald Trump’s personal aggrandizement. He cares nothing about you. He cares nothing about your aspirations and dreams. Don’t misunderstand him when he pays attention to you. He’s just trying to get what he wants from you, an earthshattering ego stroke.

Trump believes in nothing, which is why he will say anything. That’s why he’s all over the map, varying his positions not only year-to-year, month-to-month, week-to-week, but even hour-to-hour.

Bingo, Kurt! If Trump had principles, he would have been fighting these battles for months. But he has no principles except himself.

Trump broke a lot of people’s hearts when he signed this garbage. A lot of people desperately wanted him to be the wrecking ball they voted for. The guy who would upend the Establishment GOP. And above all: the guy who fights.

And yesterday — and critically, in the weeks leading up to this vote — Trump was none of those things.

So yeah, I blame Paul Ryan and I blame Mitch McConnell. You bet I do. But you know what? I blame Donald Trump too. And his betrayal is the bitterest pill for some to swallow, because they already knew Ryan and McConnell would betray them. They didn’t think Donald Trump would.

But he did.

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