Trump made $5.7 billion synonymous with border security. That was a mistake

President Trump made $5.7 billion into a magic number when he claimed that was what’s needed to secure the border. Democrats are never going to give him that amount. If Trump had simply focused on the policy of keeping the country safe, and not on a particular number, he might already be out of the current shutdown showdown with a win.

Instead, he latched on to the number and made his arguments as much about securing a dollar amount as the end goal. That primed his supporters to use billions to measure his success.

He refused to support a bipartisan compromise in February 2018 that would have given him $25 billion over 10 years, including $2.5 billion that year. Trump then rejected a stopgap spending bill in December that would have prevented a shutdown and left more time for lawmakers to reach a deal. Instead, he told now Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., “ I am proud to shut down the government for border security.

The government did shut down, and even if Trump kept up his facade of pride, lawmakers didn’t. The stunt was an avoidable fiasco and everyone was relieved when Trump announced that he’d reopen the government to jump-start new negotiations.

Now, with the deadline to fund the government coming up once again,

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