President Trump is a schoolyard bully. You do not give in to schoolyard bullies. If he is appeased this time, it will not be long before he shut down the government again to get something else he wants.

Congress has compelling reasons for refusing to cave in to the president. First, Congress appropriated more than $1 billion last year for a wall in places where it is needed, and this money is unspent. The House recently approved another $1 billion-plus for the same purposes. Trump can use this money to build his wall where security experts say it will potentially do some good, but there is consensus that a wall across the entire southern border is a waste of money.

Secondly, if Trump can get what he wants any time by throwing a tantrum and shutting down government, the constitutional principle that Congress is a co-equal branch of government designed to put checks and balances on a president will be destroyed, and we will be left with a dictator who can get anything he wants. Our cherished democracy would be at grave risk.

Under the Constitution, the answer to the impasse is straightforward, but it will take Republicans to stand up and vote for what is best for the country. The Senate should pass the appropriations bills already passed by the House to re-open government, and vote to override any presidential veto if necessary. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote is aiding and abetting the president in the destruction of our constitutional system.

As a former Republican, I am disheartened that the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has fallen to such a sad state, and is taking the country down with it.

Robert Piampiano


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