Over a period of three days during the so-called US Government “shutdown”, nothing of any real significance really, shutdown.
The US post office stayed open, the military stayed at their posts. At the Smithsonian museums in the national capital it was business as usual. The National Zoo was also open to the public.
On the “what happened side?” A bunch of public servants took a day off.
Instead, the whole exercise provided yet another embarrassing example of a dysfunctional government in Washington. The very reason why it was that Donald Trump rose to power.
Now with Mr Trump in the mix, the traditional two-way bad mouthing, Democrat versus Republican, turned into a three-way event with Mr Trump criticising both Dems and Republicans and they taking shots at him.
Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2018
Eventually the Democrats, in the minority in both houses, were forced to roll over in the Senate and agree to a spending bill in exchange for a pledge to take up the fate of young illegal immigrants soon.
They are the so called “Dreamers”- the nearly 800,000 young people, here illegally because they were brought over the border by the parents, and who have since made their lives as Americans, attending school, going to university and getting jobs.
The Democrats and many, not so vocal Republicans, believe they must be given a “fair go” an amnesty. Deportation for many (who have no memory of life outside of America) would be the cruellest cut of all.
The one real surprise during the shutdown was how quiet the president stayed. He’s taking credit now for the result, but it’s clear he was forced to the sidelines by his White House advisors.
During negotiations Democrat senate leader Chuck Schumer was infuriated with Mr Trump explaining how no one could get a handle on what he was thinking.
It was like “negotiating with jelly. It’s next to impossible.”
Fellow Democratic, Senator Cardin said, “the president has not been helpful. When you think, you are moving forward…Mr Trump changes his mind when he talks to someone else on his staff.”
Several Republicans are also fed up with Mr Trump.
Lindsey Graham, Republican senator said, “I hope the White House will come on board but the senate needs to lead because no one else is.”
Another Republican senator, John Kennedy, said “I don’t think we should wait for the president (for a decision).”
In fact, the president all but disappeared from the argument over the weekend.
Why, suddenly, had the inveterate tweeter gone quiet? Had Melania eventually carried through with a threat to confiscate his phone?
Today it became clear why the nation didn’t hear from him.
The last minute White House strategy ensured the president didn’t appear to be responsible for any part of the shutdown.
Suddenly, on Saturday, he became disengaged. There was not a single phone call to the Democrats, who, last week he had been negotiating with.
Once the yes vote came, in his spokesperson said, “what the president did clearly worked.”
Although, it must have been galling for him to be sitting there at his empty desk pretending to be on the phone for the White House official photographer and now removed from the battle.
After all, this was the co-author of “The Art of the Deal”; Mr Trump’s book where he brags about being one of the world’s great “closers.”
But never one to give up the fight: while he remained out of sight, television advertisements started appearing, funded by Trump supporters.
“Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. I’m Donald J. Trump and I approve this message,” the ads blared.
The “Dreamers”, understandably, are still worried.
Today’s vote gives them no guarantees because the sting in the tail was that the agreement, to fund the government, lasts for a mere 17 days and after that, all bet.