- The Washington Times
Monday, May 1, 2017

Funding for the “big, beautiful” border wall has faded into the background for now, felled by a lumbering budget deal that trimmed away legislation based on a number of President Trump’s most serious — and popular — campaign promises. The unhappy phenomenon had vexed those who hoped porous barriers to the south would be upgraded. Bob Dane, executive director of Federation for American Immigration Reform, calls the outcome “a betrayal of American workers, taxpayers and the security of the nation,” even as the Democratic Party is claiming victory.

“Not one red cent for Donald’s border wall,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perezsays in a gleeful message to his party, advising that they’ve got the GOP “on the ropes.”


The White House would disagree.

“Make no mistake, the wall is going to be built. The president has made it very clear,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the press gaggle on Monday. “We have five months left in this fiscal year. We’re getting $1.52 billion for border security. There’s a lot that can be done with that. We’ve got a lot of things that happen before the wall is built in terms of planning, technology.”

Mr. Trump does have a victory of sorts, however, according to the aforementioned immigration federation, which boasts some 1.3 million members.

“President Trump has effectively reversed many of the non-enforcement policies of the Obama administration. By merely sending the signal that he is serious about enforcing immigration laws, the president has achieved dramatic reductions in illegal immigration. Getting the attention of illegal aliens has proven to be the easy part of addressing our nation’s failed immigration policies. Getting Congress to do its job — most especially the leadership of the president’s own party — is proving to be a more formidable challenge,” the organization noted.

They advise Mr. Trump to demand funding for the border wall in the FY 2018 budget and move forward on mandatory E-Verify legislation. The president also should shore up guest worker programs and overhaul the legal immigration system via strategic congressional legislation. The organization says the “Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act” — which would reduce legal immigration by 50 percent and was sponsored by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue — is a good starting point.

TRUMP EXPLAINS ALL

“I don’t like drawing red line. But I act if I have to act.”

President Trump, regarding the possible threats posed by North Korea and ISIS, to Eric Bolling, host of “The Fox News Specialists,” which debuted on the network Monday.

But wait, there’s more.

“I’m not against the media. I’m against the fake media,” Mr. Trump said about his relationship with the press.

‘A GRITTY TRADE’

Here’s one more observation on the annual spring rite of journalists in the nation’s capital. If you can stand it.

“Both sides were plainly happier with President Trump not attending this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. Dare we hope it will signal the beginning of the end of the insufferable smugness of the Washington press corps? Trump was off in Pennsylvania, rallying with his base. That left the media elite safe to revel in their pretensions of purity,” the New York Post notes in an editorial about the aforementioned annual dinner, which typically draws 2,600 “correspondents” — though the number of genuine White House correspondents numbers around 250.

“Yes, the dinner lacked the Hollywood stars of years past. Good: It’s absurd for reporters to think they share Tinseltown’s glamour. Journalism done right is a gritty trade. Cover the beautiful people; don’t think you are them,” said the Post, noting that journalists still “strut their smug,” whether the president is there or not.

“The press corps also showed its colors by making Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein its guests of honor. The hope, plainly, is that younger journalists will soon bring down another president. Indeed, the Trump era is inspiring new extremes of media sanctimony, epitomized by the new slogan at The Washington Post, ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’ ‘Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable’ was the slogan of muckraker Finley Peter Dunne. It’s hard to do that when you’re feeling so comfortable yourself,” the Post concludes.

For the unfamiliar, Dunne was a Chicago-based political columnist in the early decades of the 20th century.

SMALL BUSINESS STILL TRUMP FRIENDLY

About 70 percent of small and medium business owners are optimistic they’ll see business growth, expansion, or increased revenue over the next 12 months, reports a Business.com survey of some 600 U.S. business owners.

“Driving their optimism is the administration’s plans for deregulation, with 61 percent of respondents saying the promise of deregulation has impacted their business investment plans, 34 percent going even further to say the impact would be great,” the poll, said, noting that 56 percent of the owners agree that regulations can stifle growth.

And the biggest threat to business survival? A third of the respondents cited taxes, 26 percent pointed the finger at “political uncertainty” and 21 percent cited excess regulations.

A REAGAN MOMENT

Craig Shirley — a meticulous Ronald Reagan biographer who has written about every significant era of the 40th president’s life — tells what he knows in an appearance at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. Mr. Shirley focuses on his latest book, “Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980”; the forum will be hosted by Lee Edwards, a longtime conservative scholar.

Mr. Shirley says his new work “offers insight into the development of Reagan’s optimistic and unifying philosophy, plus lessons for both established political leaders as well as emerging hopefuls.” See the event streamed live at noon EDT  at Heritage.org.

POLL DU JOUR

28 percent of Americans say the news media is “very important” in determining how well U.S. presidents do their jobs; 22 percent of voters who supported President Trump agree.

31 percent say the media is “somewhat important”; 25 percent of Trump voters agree.

27 percent say the news media is “not important” in this role; 45 percent of Trump voters agree.

14 percent say they’re not sure; 8 percent of Trump voters agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted April 23-25; the sample included 432 people who voted Mr. Trump.

• Neighs and nays, yeas and yays to jharper@washingtontimes.com


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