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The Comical Incompetence of President Trump

It's worth remembering every now and then that Trump is horrible at being president

The United States is on the seventh day of a government shutdown sparked by Trump demanding $5 billion for The Wall. (Photo: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

The United States is on the seventh day of a government shutdown sparked by Trump demanding $5 billion for The Wall. (Photo: AFP/Timothy A. Clary)

President Trump is spending the last few days of 2018 in signature fashion, with a series of unforced errors and comical pratfalls around the world, any one of which would have been a multi-week scandal for any previous president. The government is shut down over total nonsense, and Trump's attempt to visit the troops for a quick propaganda coup instantly became a head-shaking discussion about his awful operation security and pointless lies.

It's worth remembering every now and then that Trump is horrible at being president. The basic tasks are as far beyond him as it would be for a parakeet attempting to operate the Large Hadron Collider.

Let's review. The United States is on the seventh day of a government shutdown sparked by Trump demanding $5 billion for The Wall. As many, many experts have argued at tedious length, any border wall is all but pointless for achieving its stated objective. Walls are easy to get around, and actually building one would ruin the lives and properties of many law-abiding citizens, in addition to presenting huge logistical and legal barriers. Anyway, since 2007 most people who immigrate illegally overstay their visas instead of crossing the border.

The Wall has always been a shiny bouncing ball, something to whip up the Fox News rubes and get cable news talking about Trump's favorite subject: himself.

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The Wall has always been a shiny bouncing ball, something to whip up the Fox News rubes and get cable news talking about Trump's favorite subject: himself. The reality of the thing is entirely beside the point. Indeed, Congress already allocated $1.7 billion for border barriers in 2017 and 2018, and the administration only spent 6 percent of it.

Democrats naturally wonder why they should more than double that appropriation. Yet not only has Trump provoked this shutdown — and got baited into formally accepting responsibility for it by the comically inept Chuck Schumer — in a matter of days he will face a Democratic-controlled House and thus an even worse bargaining position. He capped it all off by bizarrely lying that most of the furloughed federal employees are Democrats.

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Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.

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