Donald Trump has given Democrats an immense gift with his latest Wall cave. As I’ve noted, Mexico paying for the Trump Wall has never been mainly about budgets or money. It’s about dominance and humiliation. Countries defeated in war pay war indemnities. They are forced to agree to unequal treaties. Trump is all about dominance politics and humiliation. Forcing a foreign country to pay for a wall to keep its own citizens out of another country is almost the definition of national humiliation, as the Mexicans have themselves made abundantly. Although less deadly, it’s symbolically comparable to how China forces families to pay for the bullets used to execute their relatives.
And yet here we are, one week in and Trump has managed his colossal self-own. Who’s paying for it? We’re paying for it! Or, who’s paying for it? Mexico! How? On layaway! Or with some kind of forced promissory note which they themselves reject and say they’ll never pay. Trump has made all of America into the first stiffed Trump vendor of his administration.
Journalists may feel the need to go through the motions of pretending or asking the President how he plans to get Mexico to pay for his Wall. But this is clearly nonsense. Mexico is never going to pay for his Wall. That’s obvious. As any businessperson knows, the promise and commitment you get at the beginning is always the most solid one you’ll ever get. Your leverage only goes down. Mexico will never pay for the wall. And the initial cost estimates are almost certainly low. This will be tens of billions of dollars for Trump’s ego trip. You will pay. Mexico will laugh.
The ‘Mexico will pay’ song and dance was always about dominance and power, not budgetary savings. Democrats should confront it on those terms. The precise dollar amount isn’t the point. After all the promises about his strongman power, how Trump bends the weak to his will, Trump got owned and now is sticking taxpayers with the cost of his nonsensical promises about how we’re just ‘fronting’ the money. He got owned. He lied. And now he’s resorting to the same ‘oh you’ll get paid later’ flimflam he’s used to rip off countless investors over the years.
No less important, every Republican in Congress is going to give this the green light, forcing American taxpayers to pay for the Wall themselves. Democrats should hammer this point too: they’re trying to clean up Trump’s mess with your money!
Trump can’t be mocked. It takes him apart. The Wall was always about Trump’s dominance politics brand. Democrats should hit on that front. Don’t even get into an argument over the nonsense about making Mexico pay on layaway. That’s nonsense. Everybody knows it. Insisting on this obvious fact to Trump’s face will just drive him harder into more bluster and nonsensical argument, insisting on the truth of what is palpably ridiculous. It’s brand-defeating. It’s a gift for the Democrats. Please open it.