Contrary to liberal media reporting, the Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was a win for Trump, both in substance and in tone.
The meeting gave people an opportunity to see who fears transparency, who's misrepresenting his/her position and who is being the aggressor in the border debate, and it's not Donald Trump.
Instead of listening to the media's version, watch the video. President Trump set the tone of the meeting, and it was decidedly cordial, saying it was a great honor to have Pelosi and Schumer there and acknowledging that they've worked very hard on various bipartisan initiatives, such as criminal justice reform and the farm bill.
Trump then turned to "the wall," saying Republicans support it and he would like to avoid a government shutdown over the issue while acknowledging that it is a very difficult issue because Republicans and Democrats are "on very opposite sides."
When Trump surrendered the floor to Pelosi, she immediately invoked the subject of a government shutdown, saying the American people recognize that we must keep the government open — as if that, and not border security, were the overriding issue — and warning, "You should not have a Trump shutdown."
Notice the blatantly calculating way she spun this as a "Trump shutdown" rather than a possible impasse that could lead to a government shutdown. Also note: Pelosi drew first blood, and it was deliberate.
After a minor skirmish over whether Trump should initiate a bill in the House that would be sure to fail in the Senate, Pelosi, playing to the camera, said, "We're here to have a conversation in a prayerful way, so I don't think we should have a debate in front of the press." Pelosi knows that a House bill could not survive a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, yet she continued to press Trump to offer a bill.
Schumer began his remarks by insulting Trump, saying The Washington Post gave him "a whole lot of Pinocchios" on the wall and stressing that Democrats have "a disagreement ... not on border security but on the wall." He chided Trump for calling for a shutdown 20 times, ignoring that Trump had specifically said in this meeting that he does not want that.
Then a frustrated Pelosi said they needed to call a halt to the discussion because they had come in to the meeting in good faith to discuss with Trump how they could keep the government open. Again, Trump was not the one talking about a shutdown; he was talking about the wall and border security, the former being indispensable to the latter. Like Pelosi, Schumer said they should "debate in private," while Pelosi was insultingly mumbling, "We have taken this conversation to a place that is devoid, frankly, of fact." In other words, "You're lying, President Trump, because you won't agree to our partisan version of reality."
Schumer insisted that border security is possible without a wall and that experts say a wall would be wasteful — implying, with a straight face, that the Democratic leadership can get exercised over the expenditure of government money. Pelosi lamented again that they were having the debate in public after having come in to the meeting in good faith, and Trump rightly noted, "It's not bad, Nancy. It's called transparency." So it was Nancy's "good-faith" expectation that Trump would just sit back and take their insults and not discuss the issue that could lead to the dreaded shutdown?
Pelosi responded, "It's not transparency when we're not stipulating to a set of facts." Are you kidding me? Unless you agree with Democrats on the facts, the discussion can't be transparent? This is the same logic by which leftists ban expression of opinions that don't agree with theirs. I hope people are paying attention.
Just as the mood was beginning to soften, Schumer again turned to Trump and accused him of wanting to shut the government down, and again Trump denied it. It was only after repeated haranguing that Trump indicated he was tired of playing semantic games and said that if they want to put the shutdown on him, fine, he would be willing to shut down the government if he could not get the wall.
How can anyone believe that the Democrats support border security — wall or no wall — when they have repeatedly broken their promises to work with Republicans on it, when they demonize all opponents of illegal immigration and amnesty as racists, when they oppose all reasonable measures to guard the border, and when many of them actually advocate the elimination of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
After the meeting, Pelosi and Schumer continued vilifying Trump, with Schumer describing Trump's behavior in the meeting as a "temper tantrum" and Pelosi telling colleagues, "It goes to show you: You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you. ... It's like a manhood thing for him — as if manhood could ever be associated with him."
It's undeniable that Pelosi and Schumer initiated the aggressive exchanges, that they personally insulted Trump and were rude and condescending to him, that they openly objected to transparency, and that they misrepresented their own position on border security.
Say what you want about Trump, but he very honestly said that he was determined to get a border wall, that he preferred to have this discussion in front of the entire world and that he would be willing for the government to shut down over it. Pelosi and Schumer are just as willing to shut down the government over it but unwilling to be honest about it.
I applaud President Trump for bringing this issue front and center and exposing the fraudulent and reckless position of the Democratic leadership on border security.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.