Hallelujah, the shutdown is (possibly temporarily) over!
It’s time to end the suffering. I’m talking, of course, about the pain inflicted upon the Trump Administration during these past five weeks — cruel and hurtful accusations that the president and his advisers are clueless when it comes to the struggles of ordinary folk, and all those hit hardest by the impasse over a border wall.
Why, some have even compared the president and his advisers to Marie Antoinette. For shame! Nothing could be further from the truth, despite numerous indications that it’s the truth.
Sure, some of the bigs in the White House seem to have modeled themselves after Montgomery Burns. A few of them even look like him. But that’s just a coincidence. Don’t let their vast fortunes, their private jet travel, and their gilded penthouses fool you, working people. Pay no mind to the tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich. They see you, and share your pain.
How else could Trump have won over legions of white working people in 2016? Only a racist would suggest it had anything to do with race, so don’t go there, OK? No, his victory was all about economic anxiety: He really spoke to the folks hardest hit by factory closings and cratered unions, and they trusted him to give them relief.
And he delivered. During these past five weeks of stalemate, the full measure of Trump Administration’s compassion for the little guy has been on full display.
White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett helped unpaid federal workers see the bright side of the shutdown that had crippled finances: They could think of it as extra vacation time, he suggested. “In some sense, they’re better off,” he offered.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was as distressed as anybody to learn that unpaid federal workers were lining up at food banks, because it mystified him. Why on earth didn’t those folks just apply for loans, he offered, generously dispensing a billionaire’s advice for free.
Later in the day, President Donald Trump himself gave broke workers the gift of his extensive expertise in making ends meet. If they were hard up, he offered, they could just mosey down to the grocery store where everybody knows their name, and ask the friendly shopkeeper to put their provisions on their store accounts.
“Local people know who they are when they go for groceries and everything else,” said Trump. “They will work along.”
We know the president could relate to the unpaid workers because he said, “I can relate to them.” He suggested that most federal workers actually supported the shutdown. And if they didn’t? Well, they were Democrats.
In addition to helpful advice, the unpaid workers got gobs of gratitude.
“It’s a little bit of pain, but it’s going to be for the future of our country,” the president’s daughter-in-law Lara said. Way to buck up the little people! Economic adviser Larry Kudlow also thanked the workers for their service during the shutdown, which he called “just a glitch.”
“Am I out of touch?” he said. “I don’t think I’m out of touch.” Enough said.
And yet, when the people’s pain dragged on too long, the President finally agreed to end the shutdown on Friday, though he left open the option of doing it all again, if his wall isn’t funded.
Now, would a man who was not at one with working people do that?
Sure, the shutdown had finally begun to cripple air travel, which was always going to be a public relations disaster. And yes, Republicans’ approval ratings were tanking. But only the meanest cynic would suggest that the president had any motive besides concern for the loyal federal workers who had endured enough pain.
Since Trump’s appearance in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, his critics have been saying the shutdown gives the lie to his avowed concern for workers, and that that could hurt him in 2020.
Can the president make voters forget those harsh comparisons to callous Marie Antoinette?
For this man of the people, it’ll be a piece of cake.
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