Over at Bloomberg Opinion, Jonathan Bernstein has a very important piece this morning about how Donald “Trump is losing his influence” in the Senate.
Bernstein points to two legislative events as proof: the 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump on Yemen and Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) killing the confirmation of a Trump judicial nominee.
I want to add one more: staunch Trump ally Lindsay Graham (R-SC) publicly vowing not to vote for any year-end legislation — including a bill with money for the wall — unless and until the CIA briefs him on the Khashoggi murder, something the administration so far has refused to do.
As Bernstein points out, all of this makes the rest of the lame duck session of Congress a legislatively perilous time for Trump. With House Democrats feeling their blue wave political oats, Senate Republicans in open revolt and the Mueller investigation signaling big problems ahead for the administration, Trump is in his weakest political position since becoming president.
And that makes a Trump-induced shutdown next week far less likely than it was when this week started.
Given his rapidly worsening political situation, Trump’s best move next week could be to agree to a short-term continuing resolution with no money for his wall that forces another decision to be made early next year. That would give him the opportunity to blame the House Democratic majority if he doesn’t get the funding he wants.