The Federal government partial shutdown is now in its 34th day, and recent polls show that Trump’s disapproval rating has risen. On average through the month of January, only 37% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance; 57% disapprove (his highest disapproval rating in many months). Moreover, he is losing ground on his core issue–the wall on our southern border. Recent polls show that 71% of Americans do not believe the wall is worth shutting down the government; 61% believe the border can be secured without building Trump’s wall.
News reports this week have focused on the increasing hardship of furloughed Federal employees, many of whom depend on regular paychecks to cover their mortgages or rents, pay their utility bills, buy essentials like food and gasoline, and pay for medical care and prescription drugs. Despite these increasing hardships, 56% of Republicans say the wall is worth shutting down the government for. In contrast, 70% of Independents and 92% of Democrats believe the wall is not worth shutting down the government.
Weeks ago, Trump was prepared to sign a bipartisan bill to reopen the government but backed away after receiving stinging criticism from such conservative hard-liners as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. We don’t know what Trump confidant Sean Hannity had to say to the president in private, but Trump saw their criticism as a sign that he was losing ground with his base, so he backed away from the compromise bill and has become entrenched to the point where any concession on his part is unthinkable. Indeed, word inside the White House is that Trump believes if he gives in it will mean the end of his presidency.
Meanwhile, he is being forced to delay his State-of-the-Union address because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not agree to him speaking in the House chamber until the government is reopened.
As long as this shutdown continues, Trump will bear the lion’s share of the blame (as polls show he is now), and his position will become weaker and more exposed to criticism at home and from abroad. The so-called Great Negotiator is showing us all that he’s not so great after all. This government shutdown, already the longest in history, will be a permanent blemish on his record.