President Trump’s low-energy performance last Tuesday I doubt changed any minds in the general population but I don’t think that was his target audience.

Best guess is it was the minority Republicans in the House and the majority Republicans in the Senate who really hold the key to whether he wins the border wall battle or not.

Republican Senate support is slowly peeling away and if that disappears, there is no chance of a border wall and Mr. Trump’s presidency will hit a significant turning point. And a significant promise made to his all-important base will be broken.

I think another result of Tuesday night’s speech to the nation is that he gave away leverage to the TV networks. All of them carried his speech, as they should have. But it contained no news. Only a partisan pitch for his wall. That allows the nets to be more publicly un-trusting of any White House requests for air time. This time, they really had no choice. Next time, they will. That’s an important tool in a President’s bag to lose.

This administration has lost its credibility with all but his base and when you request network time, there better be a good reason. This speech was not a good reason.

Trump claimed to network representatives at an off-the-record lunch that he didn’t want to do the speech but his advisors wanted him to. Uh, he hasn’t listened to advisors, especially on media counsel, before and I doubt he did now. Anytime this president goes on TV live, he has a reason and a goal, and I doubt his staff forces him to do anything. He also is scheduled to make a trip to the Mexican border this week, which he also claims he doesn’t want to do. Lowering expectations anyone?

From his first sentence last night, he lied or misrepresented the truth. This was his first line: “Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

There is no security crisis at the border. None. Have illegal immigrants snuck through and committed crimes? Yes, but they are isolated incidents, not reaching “crisis” status. And any humanitarian crisis is more attributable to Trump having migrants blocked from entering or taking children away from their parents. (Do we know if they all have been reunited, by the way? I am asking you, The Media.)

Trump has painted himself into a corner on the wall. So have the Democrats, but they actually have the votes to stop a wall. Both sides should agree to end the shutdown which is doing nothing but hurting 800,000 federal employees and their families, and the beneficiaries of some key government programs, like food stamps. The Administration agreed to pay those stamps for February. The shutdown is also hurting travelers waiting in long lines at airports, as TSA folks work without pay and are starting to quit their jobs because no pay doesn’t pay the bills. Students are being hurt because they can’t get government approvals on college loans. And a host of other services stopped.

And if, as the President claims, many federal workers support his shutdown and his wall, I’d like to see their names. We know an organization representing border agents supports him because he posed with five agents recently to make that point. But I know of no one else.

That’s a claim similar to Trump saying past presidents support his wall. They don’t. Did any of them support a wall at one time? Maybe, but time marched on and technologies have been developed that are more successful at border control.

Trump is trying to keep his biggest promise to voters in 2016. Well, half of his promise. He did say Mexico would pay for the wall. They won’t!

Who’s paying for the wall? You, me and the furloughed federal workers who aren’t getting paid for doing jobs that are important services to the country. I do not see any of us getting a refund for services not given.

And the President gets elected and paid to lead a government that provides those services. He needs to end the shutdown and start doing his job.🔷

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(This piece was originally published on The Screaming Moderate. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)

(Cover: Gif of President Trump’s Oval Office speech, 8 January 2019.)