No deal over immigration in sight as Government funding ends Thursday

Developments on Day 382 of the Trump Administration:

Trump Looks to Blame “Treasonous” Democrats

Donald Trump says that he will welcome a Federal Government shutdown if the White House does not get its way over immigration:

If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown. We’ll do a shutdown. And it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.

Supplemental funding for the Government expires at midnight on Thursday. Last month, before the fourth round of funding — necessary because the Trump Administration has not presented a final budget for approval after more than a year in office — was approved, the Government closed for three days.

The core issue on top of the budget is the status of almost 800,000 young undocumented “Dreamer” immigrants, threatened with deportation from March 5 when the Administration terminates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program authorized by Barack Obama in 2012.

The Administration now says it will provide a path for citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants in 10 to 12 years — but only if it gets full funding of the $25 billion Wall with Mexico, an end to immigrants bringing relatives to the US, termination of the diversity visa lottery, extensive spending on much tougher border security measures, and a sharp reduction in admission of immigrants and refugees.

The Administration has vetoed bipartisan efforts, including a bill circulating for months, seeking a resolution.

Instead, Trump and his allies are preparing to blame the Democrats if the shutdown occurs. Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday, “If D’s oppose this deal, they aren’t serious about DACA-they just want open borders.”

Trump also circulated a distorted, misleading statement from the White House website asserting that “chain migration” allows immigrants to bring “entire extended families” to the US “without limit”.

In fact, the process of bringing any relative to the US and establishing the right to remain “can take years”, as US immigration websites make clear. And an immigrant — as opposed to a naturalized US citizen — can only apply for his/her parents or children and not “entire extended families”.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly backed up Trump on Tuesday with an interview with reporters in which he chided undocumented immigrants, saying that they had failed to register for “Dreamer” status because they “were too afraid to sign up” or were “too lazy to get off their asses”.

Kelly said he doubted Trump would extend the program beyond March 5, although he said that Dreamers were be low-priority cases for deportation.

Trump has stepped up his confrontational rhetoric as the shutdown nears. On Monday, he proclaimed that Democrats were un-American and “treasonous” for not applauding him during his State of the Union address last week.

The White House insisted on Tuesday that Trump’s remark was a “tongue-in-cheek” joke, although Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders maintained:

Democrats are going to have to make a decision at some point really soon. Do they hate this President more than they love this country? And I hope the answer to that is, “No.”

Sanders tried to walk back Trump’s welcome of a shutdown, saying he did not view the spending bill and immigration as “mutually exclusive”.

Some Republican legislators were not assuaged.

Representative Barbara Comstock, from a district in Northern Virginia with many federal workers, sent a message to Trump: “We don’t need a government shutdown on this. Both sides have learned that a government shutdown was bad. It wasn’t good for them.”

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has often clashed with the Administration, said on the floor of the chamber:

Have we arrived at such a place of numb acceptance that we have nothing to say when a president of the United States casually suggests that those who choose not to stand or applaud his speech are guilty of treason?. I certainly hope not….

Treason is not a punch-line, Mr. President.

Trump Orders Pentagon to Plan a Military Parade

Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to plan a military parade for him to review.

Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday that the planning process is in its “infancy.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said:

President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great servicemembers who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.

Trump told high-level Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, that he wants the parade.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” a military official told the paper. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Trump was French President Emmanuel Macron’s guest on Bastille Day in July, and said the French military display was “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen.

In conversation with Macron in September, Trump said he wanted a military parade on July 4 in Washington.

Military officials said they are unsure how to pay for shipping tanks and military hardware into Washington, which will cost millions of dollars. Other analysts said Washington’s roads, in a city built atop a swamp, are not sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the tanks.