Republicans: Stand with Trump on the Wall

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 August 26, 2017|
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At his spirited rally in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, President Trump reiterated his threat to shut down the government to force Congress to fund his border wall with Mexico. He was absolutely right to do so, and Republicans should give him their full support.

Reasonable people can disagree about the efficacy of a border wall. After all, wall or no wall, people flow across the border every day, as visitors, as students, and to engage in lawful commerce. A wall would make it easier to control these flows, and to block people and illegal substances we don’t want in our country. But arguably there are other steps, such as cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, that would be more effective in ending the scourge of “unauthorized” migration.

That the wall would only be partially effective, however, is no excuse for refusing to build it. Any wall is a more compelling barrier than no wall at all. The Democrats’ feigned outrage at the concept of Trump’s border wall is also wholly disingenuous. The United States already has plenty of fencing and other security infrastructure on the border with Mexico, much of it put in place by President Obama. If a fence is politically acceptable, then why is a slightly more substantial and permanent barrier beyond the pale? It makes no sense.

The best reason to build Trump’s wall, though, is that elections have consequences. Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States based largely on three consistent themes: protecting American jobs by revising bad trade deals, implementing an “America First” foreign policy, and protecting the borders by cracking down on illegal immigration and building a wall. He’s obliged to work tirelessly to achieve these aims—and Republicans need to help him. To act contrary to these aims would be to ignore the will of the American people.

In the grand scheme of things, the cost of Trump’s wall is easily within America’s reach. The alleged damage such a wall would do to our relations with Mexico and Latin America is also vastly overstated. Our neighbors to the south already know that the waves of illegal immigrants they have been sending us for decades are unwelcome. They already know we are trying with renewed vigor to close our borders to illegal immigrants and illegal drugs. They are quite accustomed to looking across that border and seeing armed Border Patrol agents, checkpoints, fencing, and other paraphernalia of self-defense.

What they are not used to, however, is a United States that acts energetically and consistently to defend its own interests. But they’ll get used to it, over time—and may even come to respect the United States as never before. Latin American nations, after all, do not hesitate to defend their borders. Why should they begrudge us the right to defend our own?

President Trump is redoubling his pledge to build a border wall, and he is doing so by signaling his willingness to shut down the government if Democrats refuse to support a budget that includes funding for the wall, which is precisely what they swear they will do. In other words, Trump is ready to do battle, ready to take extreme political risks, on behalf of a wall that he believes is vital to U.S. national security, and perhaps vital to his own reelection chances.

Congressional Republicans are wavering, however. They remember the bruising government shutdowns of 1995-96 and 2013, which resulted in Republicans getting the blame (thanks, naturally, to biased media coverage). In both instances, Republicans gave in to Democrats’ demands. Fearful Republicans would rather play nice and negotiate. If that means sacrificing the wall, so be it.

This approach is not only weak and cowardly, it is also foolish. Republicans control both houses of Congress as well as the presidency. Republicans thus have far more leverage over the budget than Democrats do. Republicans just have to be willing to use it.

President Trump has proven time and again he is prepared to fight for causes that are not universally popular. With a media establishment virtually united in (phony) outrage regardless of what he says or does, he has very little reason not to act according to his own beliefs, and to strive to do what is right for the country in his eyes. He will be pummeled either way.

We know, then, that President Trump means what he says: he is absolutely committed to the border wall. Therefore, Republicans should stand with the President. They should support his pledge to shut down the government in the absence of an acceptable budget. Republicans should do so because President Trump is going to make his stand with or without them, and we will have a much better chance of victory if we form a united front.

Indeed, a united front might cause the Democrats to cave, and obviate the need for a shutdown. Republicans in Congress should also realize that they will inevitably receive much of the “blame” in the event of a shutdown, no matter how they feel about it. So why not embrace it? If (and when) the strategy works, they can share the credit.

The best reason to build Trump’s wall, though, is that elections have consequences. Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States based largely on three consistent themes: protecting American jobs by revising bad trade deals, implementing an “America First” foreign policy, and protecting the borders by cracking down on illegal immigration and building a wall. 

Voters—the people who put those timorous Republicans in office in the first place—expect progress towards conservative goals, not consistent surrender to Democratic obstructionism. The GOP-controlled Congress already failed to repeal Obamacare and fumbled tax reform. Standing firm on the border wall would go far toward restoring Republicans’ confidence and self-respect.

In the past, Republicans have come out the losers in government shutdowns (and threatened shutdowns), because no one truly believed—for good reason—they had the fortitude to see them through. Republicans did not have the courage of their convictions. President Trump, though, is itching for a fight. He is ready to shut down the government indefinitely if that is what it takes to achieve an acceptable budget. Democrats, moreover, know that Trump is just “crazy” enough to follow through on his threats. That is why he has such a good chance of prevailing in this fight. Republicans would be foolish not to stand with him.


About the Author:

Nicholas L. Waddy
Nicholas L. Waddy, an associate professor of history at SUNY Alfred, blogs at


  1. NYY32311 August 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    No, they do not.

  2. Neo Conscious August 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    The rift between Trump and the Republicans in Congress is due more to their fecklessness than Trump’s public criticisms of them.
    The conservative base is behind Trump, and they know it. Some, such as McCain aren’t going up for reelection and don’t care, but most of them are worried.
    Trump would shut down the government and never bat an eye and they know it. He has shown again and again that he is willing to be the bad guy, and in fact the good cop/bad cop strategy is his MO for getting things accomplished.
    I’d put good odds on that wall getting built.

  3. USInfidelPorkEater August 26, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    The only person in America with any semblance of a spine is D.J. Trump. The rest of Congress,if the have a spine left them home before taking their oath of office.

    • Nightmare August 27, 2017 at 7:38 am

      The (movie) Predator ripped them out for trophy decorations.

  4. Peter63 August 26, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    ALL TRUE; but are the Republicans in Congress non-stupid enough to see it?

    For decades now they have been the creatures and tools of special interests – their Big-Money donors. They have gotten into the habit, long since, of genuflecting to leftwing rhetoric, assumptions, behavior – out of the chronic cowardice which is part-and-parcel of their fourth-rate mediocrity as human beings.

    Is it likely that at this time of day they can even read the writing on the wall and grow a spine? Can a jellyfish turn into a vertebrate?

  5. Joel Mathis August 27, 2017 at 6:05 am

    “and protecting the borders by cracking down on illegal immigration and building a wall.”

    Incomplete. The promise was to build a wall … that Mexicans would pay for.

    Now the president wants to shut down the government because he can’t keep that promise, and wants to put taxpayers on the hook for it instead. Awesome.

    • hamburgertoday2017 August 27, 2017 at 9:05 am

      So you would prefer the wall not be built until Mexico pays for it? As taxpayers, we pay for all kinds of things most of us don’t want. There are alot of taxpayers that want the wall and while those taxpayers would prefer Mexico somehow pay for it, in the final analysis, they want the wall built sooner rather than later. Like now.

      • Joel Mathis August 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

        Whatever. Nicholas Waddy says the wall should be built because the president promised a wall. But the president promised a wall based on a condition he cannot meet. If Congress judges the wall worthy of taxpayer expense, they’ll pay for it, but it’s HIS FAULT he made a promise that any reasonable observer knew, at the outset, he would never fulfill. I don’t consider my congressperson obligated to rescue the president from his mistakes using my money.

      • Joel Mathis August 27, 2017 at 10:35 am

        That said: Why SHOULD Mexicans pay for *our* wall we want to keep *them* out. Do you make your neighbors pay to put up your fences?

        • Jim Smesny August 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

          The answer is “yes”. It is customary if one neighbors inhabitants are crossing into another’s property then that guy pays for the fence. Otherwise the cost is shared

        • Rockerfeller August 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          True. He did say over and over again that Mexico would pay for it. I still think they will, but I personally don’t care if they pay for it, because of the point you made: Should we really make our neighbor pay for our fence? What matters to me is that the wall gets built. I do think that if the wall does get built AND Mexico doesn’t pay for it that 95% of those who want a wall built will be OK with it.

    • taek kenn August 27, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      The Mexicans will pay for the wall one way or another. Just by stopping 70% of Illegal immigration, the country is saving on educational and healthcare and other benefits that those people would get here. Mexico will have to educate them and heal them. Additionally, the money that illegals (who were stopped at the border) send back home will be cut off substantially. Also, Trump has hinted that he would put some sort of fees/tax on all outgoing money. But that is just for starters. By stopping the flow of criminals importing drugs into this country, will mean that unfortunately Mexico will be stuck with the criminal elements that they are more than eager to send north.
      Yes there is many ways to skin a cat. Getting a check from Pena Nieto is only one option.

    • Drew August 27, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      They can pay for it after it is built.

    • Ken moss August 27, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Yeah like our government doesn’t waste at least 6% of its budget. Nubile the wall, PERIOD. YOU dems will bitch and complain about everything so we shouldn’t pay any attention to your noises!

  6. raj43 August 27, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Trump has proven we don’t need a wall. Since we have a president who allows law enforcement to do their jobs, illegal immigration is down, dramatically. Let’s not throw money away on a wall we don’t need.

  7. Jon Schneck August 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Past shutdowns had a democrat president and manipulated the shutdown to make the opposing side look bad, President Trump will manipulate this for his benefit. Look for the welfare checks to stop first and the epa to be closed along with many other useless agency’s all the obummer but buddies will be sent home with Trumps hope that they never return. I say bring it on, never play chicken with a crazy person.

  8. Ken moss August 27, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Just build it and be prepared to close only the parts of the government that liberals love. Like sorry no checks to PP or other sacred cows of the progs, like federal payment to change an inmates gender.

  9. David Robertd August 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Neither the Democrats nor the Republican RINO’s want the wall because both want the “CHEAP LABOR” it provides for Agribusiness and the “Service Industries”. Never mind the “Illegal Drugs Industry” plaguing our youth making them addicts and derelicts; no, the I think the Progressive Left believes that illegal drugs provide jobs and decent income for Black Minorities in our inner cities. They, meaning the Democrats and the RINO’s, could care less that it’s driving down wages for “Middle Class Americans” by letting in all these non-educated Mexicans, because the Progressive Democrats believe the more they allow into our nation, the more they’ll vote for Democrats. The whole thing just feeds on itself in a vicious circle. I pray that GO

  10. Michael Peterman August 28, 2017 at 1:33 am

    The building of the Wall (which was backed by both parties not too long ago), has now generated regrets. Too expensive, too ineffective, the folks from Congress now say. Or is it because Pres. Trump wants it built, that now money is a problem? Ineffective? Tell that to all the fence manufacturers around the country.

    Would a wall stop illegal immigration? Nope, but it will help. And it will cut down the human smuggling and some drug activity.

    The author states it correctly that the Congressional Repubs have abdicated their position of strength.

    This is a no brainer. Build the wall and start collecting tariffs from Mexico to reimburse.

    • Dave781 August 28, 2017 at 4:13 am

      Americans will pay those tariffs you dimwit.

      • Michael Peterman August 28, 2017 at 9:47 am

        Tariffs wasn’t the best choice of words. Many ways to get Mexico to pay.

  11. ed August 28, 2017 at 2:53 am

    Uhhhh……you forgot the part about Trump’s campaign promise that Mexico would pay for it. That makes your entire opinion piece a joke. I also have to wonder if you are an “Associate Professor” at any school. Your arguing skills are non-existent.

  12. Dave781 August 28, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Congress does not work for the president. It is not their responsibility to keep Trump’s campaign promises.

  13. Lawrence Duffield August 28, 2017 at 10:03 am

    If the voters do not get the results they elected today’s Congressmen to provide, we have no choice but to take note of exactly who stood in the way, and make sure they are replaced in the Primary process by someone who will support the voter’s priorities.

    No one man can “drain the Swamp”. Since it is clear the Democrats have no slight interest in compromising to achieve our goals, it is the GOP incumbents who are in the spotlight – identify, Primary, replace. Starting, I’m sorry to say, with Paul Ryan, once a shining star of GOP hopes, now a paid-up member of #NeverTrump, #NeverVoterIssues.

    We can’t afford opposition by those who should have our backs.

  14. David Kane August 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    If Trump does not succeed in building the wall he will lose everything and the Left will destroy what remains of an America made great by individual liberty and meritocracy, just as Europe has been laid waste by mass immigration, the Trojan Horse of Marxism (read; “2030:Your Children’s Future in Islamic Britain” by David Vincent, Amazon and Kindle).

  15. ECM August 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    They ‘got the blame’ in 2013…then rolled over the Dems in 2014–SHUT. IT. DOWN.

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