Going Great

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January 5, 2019 2:02 p.m.

A very unpretty picture here in the Post of the President’s efforts to negotiate an end to the three-week government shutdown. The White House is making a big play of Vice President Pence working through the weekend in what they claim are negotiations. But the President hasn’t actually given Pence the authority to discuss specific numbers of even specific proposals. And this is compounded by the fact that no one would put much stock in such offers even if Pence were nominally empowered to make them because the President routinely overrules them in tweets.

This tweet appears to have been aimed at reports that the White House is trying to stave off more defections.

This passage in the Post article captures the different dimensions …

While Trump was aware of Pence’s efforts to negotiate, the president has grown annoyed by news reports about the negotiations that make it seem like he is backing away from his demands and thus wants to avoid any new wave of stories about new numbers for wall funding being discussed, the Trump aides said.

Trump instead encouraged Pence and senior aides to focus on the $5.6 billion for border security that was the focal point of legislation passed last month by House Republicans and push Democrats, the aides said.

Trump’s hard line has been bolstered by his view of Friday’s meeting at the White House with congressional leaders and his subsequent rambling and lengthy remarks in the Rose Garden.

Trump exasperated members of both parties during the meeting in the Situation Room, but Trump spent Friday evening boasting to friends that he was in a strong negotiating position because he was able to capture the attention of the political world and make a flurry of points that he feels his core voters appreciate, White House officials said.

At the moment, the President’s main angle seems to be haranguing supporters and aides about how strong a position he’s in.

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