How Conspiracy Laden Tweets On The Wall Are Helping Trump


Village Elder
Trump’s tweet storms to rally base support for the government shutdown seem to be working

1. As the standoff drags on, Trump has tried to take maximum advantage of the political upheaval to rally support from his followers for his signature 2016 campaign issue. Based on a CNBC review of his wall-related tweets, the effort is paying off. As the Dec. 22 shutdown loomed, Trump linked President Barack Obama’s policy toward Iran with the ongoing battle over border security in a tweet. That post generated more than 60,000 retweets, one of the president’s biggest wall-related tweets, according to an analysis of his feed by CNBC, despite inaccuracies. The $150 billion was Iran’s own money that had been frozen in financial institutions around the world because of sanctions, the Washington Post reports. :D

2. Trump then topped it with a Dec. 30 tweet that generated nearly a quarter-million favorites, though the claim that the Obamas built a 10-foot wall around their home has been debunked. :p

‘How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?’

The subject of a border wall has been a staple of the president’s Twitter feed for the last three years. Begun in earnest in the months before he declared his presidential ambitions in June 2015, the pace picked up after his election in November 2016. The number of his followers who support his sentiments with retweets has risen accordingly.
While the president’s focus on the subject intensified in 2018, the Times reported that talk of the wall began nearly five years ago, as Trump’s advisers sought ways to help the candidate focus on immigration. “How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?” Sam Nunberg, a Trump political advisers, told Roger J. Stone Jr., another adviser, according to the report.
“We’re going to get him to talk about he’s going to build a wall,” Nunberg added, according to the Times. The reference to a wall has prevailed as one of Trump’s most popular stump lines among his base.

In fact, Trump has been tweeting about building a wall for nearly a decade. Back in May 2009, he first declared that he’d “rather build walls than cling to them.” Then in March 2013, he briefly reversed course on his wall obsession, citing a quote widely attributed to Sir Isaac Newton: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
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Village Elder
Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Wall and the Shutdown

It’s difficult to pick the craziest of the arguments that President Trump is making about the shutdown — there’s a vast buffet of imbecility to choose from — but here’s my good-faith effort.

1. This is a crisis! Terrorists are crossing the border! Rapists!
This is more like a lull than a crisis. The number of people apprehended at the border remains near a 45-year low.
From 1972 on, there were more apprehensions every single year than there were in 2017.
As for terrorists, experts say that there isn’t a single known case of a terrorist sneaking into the United States along unfenced areas of the southern border. Ever.
2. Only a wall can do the job. A big beautiful wall that stops people and drugs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was wrong to describe a wall as “an immorality,” for we need border security, and a wall in some places can be effective. But a great majority of the undocumented immigrants in the country didn’t arrive by sneaking across the border, but rather came legally, often at airports, and overstayed their visas. The most beautiful of walls wouldn’t stop them.
Likewise, drug smuggling is a real problem, but narcotics have mostly been smuggled in on trucks, cars and airplanes at official ports of entry, or through tunnels under the border, or through the postal system — not by individuals crossing remote parts of the border.
“The Daily Show” dug up a 2004 college graduation speech in which Trump counseled perseverance of just the kind that makes walls, by themselves, not terribly effective: “Never, ever give up. … If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it, but get to the other side of the wall.”
3. But this is a humanitarian issue!
Yes, it is. The most egregious humanitarian concern has been Trump’s brutal policy of separating children from parents at the border.
“Kids are still being separated,” Lee Gelernt of the A.C.L.U. told me. Mostly the government does this when it says that a parent has a criminal history, but the offenses sometimes were minor or unsubstantiated.
Meanwhile, the government shutdown causes other tragedies. For example, even in normal times 3,000 people a year die in the United States from food-borne illness, yet the Food and Drug Administration has now had to stop most routine food inspections, with inspectors sent home on furlough. The result may well be more people getting sick or dying from food poisoning.
4. The president doesn't need Congress. After all, he's the president!
Plenty of people would be a bit relieved if Trump took the dubious route of declaring a national emergency and trying to steal, er, divert money intended for disaster victims to pay for his wall. It might be a way out of our national stalemate, allowing the government to reopen.
But look, folks, when we welcome our president doing something possibly illegal, as he unjustly takes money from disaster victims, that just confirms that we have a crisis — not at the border but in Washington.
Trump’s wall isn’t about governing but about creating a political symbol and rallying his base. The problem is that it’s an expensive symbol.
By my calculations, the $5.7 billion could send 100,000 at-risk American kids to a high-quality preschool for a year AND provide Pell grants for 100,000 students to attend college for a full four years, with enough left over to ALSO provide a year’s comprehensive treatment to 115,000 Americans struggling with opioid addiction.
5. Anyway, Mexico will pay for the wall.
Trump repeatedly declared that Mexico would pay for the wall, and he still insists that Mexico will pay for it indirectly “many, many times over.”
So I have a solution to the whole mess.
Since Mexico will pay for the wall eventually, the problem now is one of cash flow. Fortunately, we have financial instruments to deal with precisely this issue.
I propose that Trump pay the $5.7 billion himself, and then the U.S. will repay him (with a nice interest rate) as the Mexican payments for the wall pour in. The Federal Reserve can verify the Mexican income stream and forward the sums to Trump.
Since he’s so confident that the wall will pay for itself, he should be delighted with this option. Right, Mr. President?

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The Times since 2001. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his coverage of China and of the genocide in Darfur.
You can sign up for his free, twice-weekly email newsletter and follow him on Instagram. @NickKristofFacebook


Village Elder
Trump just caved. Democrats can now take control of the immigration debate. :p

Trump offered no explanation for his surrender, nor did he even acknowledge that it was one. Still, by midday Friday, the mounting costs were weighing on the president.

Trump Agrees to Reopen Government for 3 Weeks in Surprise Retreat From Wall

One of the very worst mental habits in today’s political coverage is the bias you sometimes see towards presuming that President Trump possesses hidden mystical political powers. This is especially pronounced in the immigration debate: While it’s true that he won in 2016 after campaigning on the issue, there was no reason to believe he had really identified a deep strain of angst about immigration, and indeed, when he closed out the midterms on a campaign message of hate and xenophobia, Republicans suffered an epic midterm wipeout.
When Trump shut down the government over the wall, his allies widely chanted once again that hidden public sentiment would lift him to victory. But Trump slid in the polls, and now he’s officially caved:

President Trump on Friday announced a deal with congressional leaders to temporarily reopen the government while talks continue on his demand for border wall money, handing Democrats a major victory in the protracted standoff.
The pact, announced by Trump from the Rose Garden at the White House, would reopen shuttered government departments for three weeks while leaving the issue of $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.
Congress will now pass funding for the government through Feb. 15, with border security funding continuing at current levels but with no money for Trump’s wall. House and Senate leaders will enter into conference negotiations over a longer-term Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Which gives Democrats a real opening to try to seize control of this debate -- not just to score another political win, but to put their own stamp on the conversation over immigration and the border, and push it in a much more constructive direction.
At his presser today, Trump vowed that he would keep fighting for his wall. “We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier," Trump said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15 again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
In other words, if he doesn’t get his wall at the end of the three weeks, it’s national emergency time.
But make no mistake: Now that Trump backed down, in the face of the unified refusal by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to budge on his wall funding, it will be harder, not easier, for Trump to keep up this fight.
It is difficult to imagine congressional Republicans, who just lived through this disaster, having any appetite for a second round. As a senior Republican told Politico’s John Bresnahan: "I hope the president remembers this when the Freedom Caucus types tell him what to do next time.”
The polls have all confirmed that majorities blamed Trump and Republicans for the meltdown. A second shutdown over the same thing, dragging the country once again into the same mess we’ve already been through, would look even more unhinged.
So Democrats will be heading into these conference negotiations with real leverage. One clue to how they might proceed can be found in a slew of border security measures they were in the process of drawing up this week, which they were going to release, but then did not have to once Trump gave in.
According to people familiar with the Democratic plans, they were preparing to roll out a package that included added drug scanning technology at ports of entry and other infrastructure upgrades at those ports; and more than $500 million for beefed-up medical care for asylum-seeking families and children, as well as more family-friendly border processing facilities. Democrats are also coalescing around expenditures of around $500 million for more immigration judges and around $500 million in economic aid to Central American countries.
These requests form a kind of template for what Democrats might try to secure from these conference talks.
The core point to this posture this is that there actually are solutions to the humanitarian crisis at the border that would make a big difference. That’s the real crisis: The crush of asylum-seeking families really is dramatically on the rise, while the levels of single adult border crossers are at historic lows. Trump keeps exaggerating the latter problem to make the case for his wall, but the former problem is the really big challenge right now.

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