Grassroots Republicans — President Donald Trump’s unflappable base — are sticking with him as the longest government shutdown, caused in large part by Democrats’ refusal to compromise over border wall funding, continues its historic stretch.
That’s the bottom line in a report from the Republican National Committee Wednesday as members gathered in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., for their annual winter business meeting, the Washington Examiner reported.
RNC officials said that GOP constituents from their communities around the country still significantly back POTUS Trump as he continues to demand $5.7 billion in border wall/barrier funding as part of any funding agreement to reopen about 25 percent of the government that has remained shuttered since December.
Democrats, meanwhile, are refusing to even consider money for a border wall, despite the fact that many of them voted for barrier funding in the past. They are insisting the president give up his leverage and reopen the government first before ‘negotiations’ on his wall funding and other immigration reform measures he has proposed can begin.
“Among the grassroots Republicans that I know, they’re right behind the president. They don’t want him to give in at all. The money he’s asking for, for the wall, is pocket change. It’s lunch money,” Peter Goldberg, the RNC committeeman from Alaska, told the Washington Examiner.
As we reported Wednesday, the cost of the shutdown to the U.S. economy has already exceeded the amount of money POTUS Trump is requesting.
“The Democrats are not willing to negotiate,” Glenn McCall, the RNC committeeman from South Carolina, told the WE. “Everyone I talk to — they hate to see the workers impacted. But this could have been solved weeks ago if the Democrats would have come to the table in earnest and negotiated with the president.”
The government shutdown is having an outsized impact on workers in Alaska, which has led ‘moderate’ GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski to break with the president and appeal to him to immediately sign any legislation that would reopen government.
Privately, the WE reported, some RNC officials expressed frustration at the president’s approach — using the shutdown as a means of extracting concessions from Democrats over wall funding.
But the vast majority of grassroots Republicans are solidly behind him, are convinced he will come out on top, and are not concerned with some data showing trouble ahead.
“They are strongly with the president standing firm on this. This is one of his major campaign promises they would like to see done. This is a national security issue,” Kelly Arnold, RNC member and chairman of the Kansas GOP, told the news site. “They’re with the president on this, with doing the government shutdown.”
Support for the president overall is steady at 44 percent approval, according to Rasmussen Reports, which has been one of the more reliable polling firms regarding the president’s ratings.
And Rasmussen’s polling indicates that the vast majority of Republicans want the president to give a State of the Union Address (while most Democrats, understandably, don’t). They believe it will be a great opportunity for the president to explain the shutdown and detail Democrat intransigence on the issue of border wall funding and other immigration reforms.
Also, according to a survey earlier this month, the vast majority of Americans don’t see the government shutdown as a major issue.
One ace in the hole for the president: Border Patrol and immigration enforcement officials appear to support his stance and his push for new border barriers.
Members of the National Border Patrol Council — the largest union of Border Patrol members — joined the president earlier this month in the White House Press Room and sent a two-word message: “Walls work.”
“I’ve been a Border Patrol agent for 21 years,” Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, said. “I can personally tell you, from the work that I have done on the southwest border, that physical barriers, that walls actually work. — Jon Dougherty
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