Last week, President Trump met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office, in front of the media. They spatted over his proposed border wall. The conclusion of the meeting was clear. Both sides remained dug in. Democrats won’t agree to the $5 billion request from the president, and Trump is willing to shut down the government until they do. Here’s what’s missing for Mr. Trump – a clear strategy to get his signature campaign promise over the finish line. He doesn’t have a bad plan. It’s worse than that. He has no plan at all. But it’s not hard. The president should adopt this simple three-step plan if he really wants to secure the border.
Step 1 – Address the nation.
President Trump should request 30 minutes of prime time from the major television networks, in order to address the nation. Twitter is a poor substitute for a national, prime time address on television. The networks never turn down such a request from a president. This would allow him to take his message directly to the people, putting the maximum possible pressure on elected officials.
Step 2 – Play the Democrats’ greatest hits.
During this national address, Trump should play clips of leading democrats – including Schumer and Pelosi – voicing their support for a border wall when a Democrat was in the White House. There are plenty of videos to choose from, as Democrats’ support for a wall (pre-Trump) is well-documented. The president should not just say Pelosi and Schumer supported a wall, he should show us. Use their own words against them.
Step 3 – Address the spending issue directly.
When it comes to border security, Democrats enter the proverbial phone booth as big spenders, then exit as fiscal conservatives. They say we can’t afford the $5 billion that Trump is requesting. Never mind, these same Democrats voted to spend $10 billion when one of their own held the White House. When President Trump addresses the nation, he should point out that this $5 billion represents one percent of one percent of the federal budget. Compared to the $7 billion spent on Head Start each year, the border wall would be a bargain. According to the Cato Institute, since the Johnson Administration, the federal government has spent $15 trillion on welfare, while the poverty rate has actually inched up.
Securing our borders is a hill to die on. President Trump is to be commended for doing what so few politicians do. He is actually keeping the promises upon which he campaigned. And he is trying to do what no president has ever succeeded at doing. Of course, the Democrats – being the party of ‘No’ – will only obstruct, because that’s what they do. But that doesn’t mean the president can’t get his wall. He can. But first, he needs a plan. All humility aside, he needs my plan.