Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop, Feb. 18, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C.
Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Trump pretends ‘many’ Dems secretly agree with him about wall, shutdown

Updated

Donald Trump declared publicly last week that he’d spoken privately to some of his presidential predecessors who’d made a secret confession to him: they admitted that they should’ve built a giant wall along the U.S./Mexico border. This immediately became problematic, not only because it was an absurd claim, but because reporters can call every living president.

And last week, each of Trump’s predecessors made clear that the Republican was lying about the conversations that only occurred in his imagination.

This morning, the president approached this in a way that’s harder to disprove:

“We have a very big crisis, a humanitarian crisis on the border. Everybody knows it, [congressional Democrats] know it. And many of them are saying, ‘We agree with you.’ Many of them are calling and many of them are breaking. The Republicans are rock-solid.”

For now, let’s put aside the fact that Republicans are not unified, Trump’s efforts to pretend otherwise notwithstanding. Similarly, we can look past the fact that literally zero congressional Democrats, at least publicly, have broken with their party and endorsed the idea of paying the president his ransom.

What I find interesting is the idea that Trump wants us to believe that Dems have secretly called the White House to say how correct they think he is.

Unlike last week’s incident with the former presidents, this is practically impossible to definitively disprove. There are, after all, nearly 300 Democrats in Congress (between both chambers). Is it possible two or three of them reached out to the White House to signal sympathy for the president’s position? I seriously doubt it, but sure.

The trouble is, it’d be easier to believe Trump’s fanciful boast if he weren’t frequently describing imagined conversations with people whom he insists have secretly told him how right he is.

As regular readers know, a subset of the phenomenon is the president’s special fondness for folks Bloomberg News recently described as “anonymous validators”: groups of people, none of whom the president is willing to identify by name, whom we’re supposed to believe privately endorsed Trump’s agenda.

Some of Trump’s favorite anonymous validators are congressional Democrats, who’ve allegedly told him – in secret, of course – they don’t believe in the legitimacy of the Russia scandal, and they agree it was “very unfair” what former Attorney General Jeff Sessions did to the president.

These same Democrats, evidently, also want a border wall and think Trump’s shutdown gambit is the right call.

If you’re looking for any of these Dems in the real world, I’d recommend not looking too hard.