'Principles' of Democrats not clear in battle over border security: Charles Hurt

As the partial government shutdown approaches the one-month mark, it's unclear what position the Democrats are actually taking in the ongoing battle over the U.S.-Mexico border, Washington Times opinion editor Charles Hurt argued Thursday.

Two days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, sent a letter to President Trump, effectively delaying the State of the Union address, he returned the favor by postponing her overseas trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan -- just as she and other Democratic lawmakers were about to depart.

On the "Special Report" All-Star panel, Hurt -- plus Real Clear Politics associate editor A.B. Stoddard and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti -- weighed in on the politics of the showdown between the president and the House speaker.

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Hurt began by acknowledging that Washington has been “dysfunctional” for a long time and that for many, it’s a “relief” that the fight is “all out in the open.”

"If the government is shut down and maybe the crisis on the border is manufactured, but the crisis here is not manufactured, why aren’t you here negotiating?” Hurt asked of Democrats. “And at the end of the day, the big question remains, What are the principles the two sides stand for?

"We know what the principle that Donald Trump is standing for, which has to do with border security, building a wall, whatever you think of that. What are the principles that Nancy Pelosi stands for and Democrats stand for? They want to save money? Well, they don’t have a very good track record of that. They want a more efficient way of dealing with the border? So I think that the political fight here at the end of the day is beneficial to President Trump.”

Stoddard gave both Pelosi and Trump credit for their “sick burn” smackdown, insisting that there shouldn’t be a State of a Union address during the government shutdown and that no non-emergency resources that would have been used on the CoDel (congressional delegation) should be used as well.

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Continetti insisted that Trump’s response to Pelosi’s letter wasn’t “surprising,” since the president is best known for being a “counterpuncher.”

“I think this dynamic illustrates why we’re no closer in reaching a compromise than where we were last month, which is that both sides are firmly entrenched and they’re playing to their base,” Continetti told the panel. "And when you have 80 percent of Democrats telling Nancy Pelosi, ‘Don’t give him any money for the wall,’ and you have 79 percent of Republicans telling Trump, ‘We need that wall or else,’ how are you going to reach a solution?"