President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

With his back against a wall, Trump crafts a slogan, but not a plan


He’s responsible for the longest government shutdown in American history. His approval rating is falling. Economic anxieties are rising. His party is anxious, divided, and feeling uncertain. No one seems to have any idea when, or how, the shutdown might end.

It’s against the backdrop that Donald Trump this morning unveiled something new. A plan to re-open the government? No, a new slogan the president is apparently quite excited about and eager to share. Here’s what he published to Twitter:

“BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!”

Two minutes later, just to reiterate the phrase he likes, Trump again tweeted, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”

To the extent that reality still has any role to play in the debate, Trump’s pitch is strikingly dishonest. His wall, for example, is not “under construction now.” For that matter, the idea that a wall is necessary to reduce crimes rates is ridiculous: on average, immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

But more interesting than the president’s seemingly uncontrollable dishonesty is the fact that he’s more interested in sloganeering than policymaking.

Indeed, Trump’s tweet describes a rhetorical focus on the next “two years,” when the president’s attention should be on the crisis that exists right now.

It’s a straightforward problem: when a president has a slogan, but not a plan, there’s cause for concern.