The White House is committed to the shutdown fight, but missing out on delivering the State of the Union would pain President Donald Trump. One of Trump’s 2020 challengers, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a flawed presidential candidate. That’s all according to Debra Saunders, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s White House correspondent.
White House employees “see themselves as being in this until they can get a win out of it,” Saunders said about the ongoing government shutdown while filming Nevada Politics Today.
“We still don’t have the sides publicly moving toward each other so there can be a compromise. What we have are Republicans saying, ‘We have compromised, because we’re willing to have three-year protections for DACA kids.’
“But it’s still not moving. [Trump] still wants money for the wall. Democrats don’t want any money for the wall, but they don’t want to even negotiate until the shutdown is over. Democrats are looking at his proposal — and he has moved — and they’re saying, ‘You aren’t giving up what we want.’
“There are moderate Democrats who have said they don’t have a problem with the wall. As we know, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it’s an ‘immorality,” but Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat says, ‘No. Walls are okay.’ As Republicans like to counter back, if walls are immoral, Madame Speaker, then why don’t you put out legislation saying we have to tear down the ones that exist?”
Saunders believes that Pelosi has the upper hand in the dispute over if Trump can deliver the State of the Union at the Capitol Building. Pelosi “can bar him from going there,” Saunders said.
“I just don’t get what either side thinks they get out of this whole squabble,” she said. “Does either side want to have President Trump in the capitol, on the floor of Congress, talking about the state of the union when the government’s shut down? I think everybody looks bad. It’s a fight I don’t understand.
“He really likes spectacle, this president. He’s enjoyed making this address, where you have the Supreme Court justices and you have all these high-level diplomats. He really likes the pomp and circumstance. I think that perhaps Nancy Pelosi thought that by sending this letter, she would make the president realize he was going to miss out on something he liked, which is delivering that speech in the capitol. But he also gave up going to Mar-a-lago. He’s willing to give up things in order to get what he wants here.”
Saunders thinks two of the most high-profile Democrats who’ve announced their campaigns for president, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, are significant weaknesses.
“A lot of Democrats were angry when [Warren] released her DNA saying, ‘You shouldn’t let Trump get in your head and dictate what you were doing,’” Saunders said. “But I think it also told people that she really didn’t have a big claim for [previously claiming Native American ancestry]. I think it’s hurt her.”
Saunders did credit Warren for a “brilliant” announcement and said she was “smart to be first.” Saunders covered Harris when she was involved in local California politics, and she thinks that record will hurt Harris’ chances.
“I just think she’s a very flawed candidate because of her record as a San Francisco district attorney,” Saunders said. “I think that’s going to haunt her over time.”
Asked who was most likely to emerge as the Democrat nominee, Saunders selected a dark horse: Michael Bloomberg.