Trump did not declare a national emergency last night. I strongly suspect he had planned to, though. After all, the staging was there.
A prime time Oval Office formal speech. The President, grave and solemn as he sets the stage for an emergency declaration. Days of hints (in order to bolster the audience numbers). Minions out and about ponderously declaiming how everything is going to hell on the southern border.
I suspect the networks also bet on his declaring a national emergency. If they knew he was just going to dish out the usual, they wouldn’t have given up their ad revenue.
Thankfully, saner heads prevailed. Declaring a national emergency when there isn’t one is only going to open the door to making it more difficult for Presidents to do so when they need to the future.
However, the time was already allocated, he couldn’t back out, so he gave what was, from all accounts, an incredibly dull, monotonous, snuffly recitation of everything he’s been saying, without the most obvious lies. (Though he did manage to incorporate many of the usual fibs and fabrications.)
This is the same Trump content as always, just in his President Voice.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 9, 2019
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi gave the rebuttal and from what I’ve read this morning, they weren’t that hot either. The internet decided they were Mom and Dad, really pissed at junior who came home late, drunk, and having wrecked the family car. Schumer should have stepped aside and let Pelosi have the podium alone, but what’s done is done.
"Of COURSE your father's upset about the car, but the important thing is you're safe and nobody got hurt." pic.twitter.com/KKkd67FZTv
— man it’s a hot zone, (@Mobute) January 9, 2019
Appearances aside, Schumer and Pelosi intelligently focused on getting the government opened again. They refused to allow Trump to re-frame the events to his liking. Pelosi:
The fact is: On the very first day of this Congress, House Democrats passed Senate Republican legislation to re-open government and fund smart, effective border security solutions.
But the President is rejecting these bipartisan bills which would re-open government – over his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall – a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for!
What an entire evening of nothing it was other than as a way for Trump to scam people out of money. And the networks are feeling the burn this morning. They’re unlikely to say yes the next time Trump asks for prime time.
Hopefully this televised non-event should kill the wall and end the shutdown. We have people who work for us who aren’t getting paid. The shutdown must end, these people need to go back to work, they need to get paid.