Trump Draws a Line in the Sand

President Trump has floated a threat to shut-down the government to obtain funding for the border wall he promised during his campaign. Tuesday, during a speech in Phoenix, Trump reiterated his dedication to erecting a permanent wall, preventing illegal immigrants to cross from Mexico. After a couple of weeks of resignations and some say a weak response to the Charlottesville riots, Trump needs a positive bump in his approval ratings. Applauded by his supporters, Trump promised to make the wall a reality.

The funding for the wall could become entrenched with the legislative nightmare of raising the nation’s debt ceiling. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Speaker of the House, has noted a “zero” chance of not raising the debt ceiling to meet and honor the country’s obligations. The threat of combining Trump’s request for $1.6 billion dollars for the wall with this legislation has caused second thoughts and a minor decrease in the stock market.

Republicans in Congress are presently struggling to meet another Trump campaign promise of a healthy tax cut for middle-class Americans. Having to add the $1.6 billion request to an already stretched thin margin will be a tough sell, even with members of his own party. As Republicans seek ways to cut taxes, Democrats stand united in the protection of various benefit programs. The uncertainty of the Trump administration to this point in his term is affecting Republican’s ability to move forward strongly in any one direction.

September 30th looms as the deadline for creating a budget to prevent a shutdown in the government. Trump has drawn the line in the sand using this date as a stopgap to funding the border wall. Whether Trump would truly allow the shutdown is up for debate but in the present political climate-past predictions are no guarantee. Trump accuses the Democrats of blocking his efforts on many fronts, including building the wall and on a tax cut for the working people of the United States. His comment suggests a theme of laying blame to the left if he cannot keep campaign promises, disappointing his base and possibly alienating the staunchest of supporters that he has left.

Trump’s comments on NAFTA seem to have already affected the performance of the yen and other national currency. He has threatened to pull out of the NAFTA agreement in search of something more beneficial to the United States trading system. Trump is also battling rumors of infighting and chaos inside the White House, even as he criticizes McConnell, John McCain and other key members of the Republican establishment.

The border wall was a key element in Trump’s populist campaign run. His supporters still demand the pursuit of a solid wall to deter illegal immigration and the idea has some solid support from law enforcement familiar with the territory. The question is how far Trump is willing to go to make this promise a reality. Could the shutdown of the government be worth the more than one billion dollar start-up cost for the beginning of the process? This is one of many questions swirling around the Trump administration this week.