It was billed as a story about President Trump’s plan to sign compromise legislation to fund the government through September and announce a national emergency so he could dedicate funds to building a wall on the southern border.
But the Associated Press’ account of the president’s anticipated actions read more like a reaction press release from the Democratic Party.
Money in the border funding portion of the bill for wall construction amounted to $1.4 billion, “far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles he wanted,” wrote Alam Fram, Catherine Lucey and Andrew Taylor of AP under the headline “Trump will sign border deal but will also declare emergency.”
It then stated: “The White House said he’d sign the legislation but act unilaterally to get more, prompting condemnations from Democrats and threats of lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money or said Trump was abusing his authority.”
Later, it states: “Democrats say there is no border crisis and Trump would be using a declaration simply to sidestep Congress.”
Democratic presidential candidates, we were advised, all got themselves on the right side of history because “many of the Democrats’ liberal base voters adamantly” oppose “Trump’s aggressive attempts to curb immigration.”
The word “wall, the heart of many a chant at Trump campaign events and his rallies as president, is absent from the compromise’s 1,768-page legislative and descriptive language. ‘Barriers’ and ‘fencing’ are the nouns of choice, a victory for Democrats eager to deny Trump even a rhetorical victory.”
The agreement also would “squeeze funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement … in an attempt to pressure the agency to detain fewer immigrants. To the dismay of Democrats, however, it would still leave an agency many of them consider abusive holding thousands more immigrants than last year.”
The shutdown “Trump sparked” before Christmas “after Democrats snubbed his $5.7 billion demand for the wall,” denied “paychecks to 800,000 federal workers, hurt contractors and people reliant on government services and was loathed by the public,” AP wrote without evidence.
That’s why Trump “folded on Jan. 25 without getting any of his wall funds. His capitulation was a political fiasco for Republicans and handed [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi a victory less than a month after Democrats took over the House and confronted Trump with a formidable rival for power.”
The Washington Post, again relying on dozens of anonymous sources allegedly inside the White House but getting no one of relevance on the record in “’Off the rails’: Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat,” by Robert Costa, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Seung Min Kim, called Thursday a “nerve-racking day” as, after three weeks of pained negotiations … President Trump almost blew the whole thing up again on Thursday.”
And it was a defeat, the Post insisted. “Though White House officials insisted Thursday that Trump was acting in a defiant and assertive way, few Republicans, including the president’s closest allies, were pleased with the ending: $1.375 billion for fencing and other expenditures, plus an emergency gambit that many conservatives view as an executive overreach.”
This despite Pelosi having vowed to not vote for any wall funding – a fact the media failed to point out.
Instead, it was about spinning the narrative that Pelosi had won and Trump lost in the border dispute.
“Yet for Trump, the negotiations were never really about figuring out how to win,” the Post wrote. “They were about figuring out how to lose – and ho to cast his ultimate defeat as victory instead.”
As proof, the Post said Trump and his top aides “privately acknowledged they would probably never secure the more than $5 billion he had sought from a divided Congress. And the White House Counsel’s Office expressed concerns that the emergency declaration would be legally dicey.”
None of these private acknowledgements were on the record nor confirmed by other officials.