Schumer insults McConnell. McConnell insults Schumer. Moderate senators from both parties try to hash out a compromise that might reopen the government, while hundreds of thousands of federal workers wait to find out when they’re going back to work.
And Donald Trump, the World’s Greatest Dealmaker Ever? Where is he? He is locked in the residence at the White House, steaming over missing his anniversary bash at Mar-a-Lago.
Fuming at all the blame that’s flying in his direction.
Watching old TV clips of him berating Barack Obama for a lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown.
Of course, he and senior enabler Stephen Miller don’t see the irony in that.
From all the West Wing leaks, it sounds as if Trump’s blood pressure has taken off like one of Rocket Man’s ICBMs. And all the American president can manage is the occasional, seething tweet, stirring up his own amen-chorus and demanding the U.S. Senate change its rules.
Call it “The Art of the Squeal” — the government is on forced furlough. And the World’s Greatest Dealmaker Ever is whining on the sidelines, literally playing by himself.
His only substantive contribution so far, beyond refusing to articulate his own clear position: A call for senators to employ the so-called nuclear option, abandoning the one procedural step that tends to motivate compromise, the chamber’s longstanding 60-vote rule.
Ah, Mr. President. Can you get back to us when you have something constructive to add? I’m almost feeling sorry for Mitch McConnell. Almost.
As the hours careen on, others keep working. The vague outlines of a compromise are coming into view. Reopen the government through Feb. 8. Commit on the Senate floor to an immigration vote before then.
As many as 20 moderate senators are said to be weighing in (Alexander, Coons, Manchin, Collins, Flake, Graham, Warner, Murkowski, Kaine — more than you’d think). One sticking point: Speaker Paul Ryan. Will he promise similar action in the House? Dems don’t want to repeat the futile exercise of 2013, when the Senate passed an immigration bill and the House wouldn’t even consider it.
With so much distrust in Washington and the World’s Greatest Dealmaker Ever oddly AWOL, everything needs to be in writing, ideally in blood.
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is the best-selling author of a dozen books, including “TRUMPITUDE: The Secret Confessions of Donald’s Brain.” Join him on Twitter @henican.