Are conservative radio hosts like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh at least partially responsible for the government shutdown?
On December 19th, President Trump showed a willingness to accept the Democrats’ offer to implement a short-term spending scheme to keep the government running until February. But after Coulter and Limbaugh harshly criticized the proposed compromise, on Thursday Trump changed his mind and went back to a hardline stance on the border wall funding. A partial government shutdown ensued.
In a podcast called Daily Caller, Coulter denounced the Trump administration as a “joke presidency” that “scammed the American people with promises of a wall.”
She was one of Trump’s most vocal supporters back in the 2016 election and authored a book, In Trump We Trust, to endorse the then presidential candidate. However, during a 15-minute rant on the podcast show, Coulter expressed extreme disappointment in Trump’s policies and claimed a wall might never be built after all.
“They’re about to have a country where no Republican will ever be elected president again,” said Coulter. “Trump will just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people, amused the populists for a while, but he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.”
In fact, if there turned out to be no wall, she would not vote for Trump again in 2020. “Why would you [vote for Trump]? To make sure, I don’t know, Ivanka and Jared can make money? That seems to be the main point of the presidency at this point,” she said.
Trump unfollowed Coulter on Twitter after Coulter uttered harsh words against him.
Similarly, Limbaugh did not hesitate to express his anger at the president’s original intention to cooperate with the Democrats. If the compromise measures were passed, he said, it meant “Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything, including control of the House in a few short weeks.”
“This is textbook. It’s a textbook example of what the drive-by media calls compromise,” he said on his radio show.
Limbaugh reminded his audience that the Senate Appropriation Committee had previously authorized a funding of $1.6 billion for the border wall earlier this year. If the short-term funding measures went through, the administration would lose even this pre-approved funding.
“That’s gone, too. Not only is there not gonna be $5 billion, there isn’t gonna be $1.6 billion that was already allocated,” he said. “So it’s an even better compromise in the minds of the drive-by media and the denizens of the swamp. Not a penny. Forget wall. Think border security.”
Other right-wing figures including Michelle Malkin and Ben Shapiro also joined Coulter and Limbaugh in their criticisms toward the president’s supposed softened approach to the wall.
“I’m not going to spin it,” Malkin said. “I wish I could but I can’t. This is a cave. This was a blink.”
It is unclear how much influence they have on Trump’s policy decision, but there is no doubt that Trump has begun to fall out of love with conservative media.
“Fox & Friends” has been the president’s most loyal ally when it comes to the media scene. However, on Friday show host Brian Kilmeade voiced his disapproval of Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, comparing Trump to former president Barak Obama.
“He also is doing exactly what he criticized President Obama for doing,” Kilmeade said. “He said President Obama is the founder of ISIS; he just re-founded ISIS, because they have 30,000 men there and they are already striking back with our would-be evacuation. The president is really on the griddle with this.”
“This is tyranny of talk radio hosts, right? And so, how do you deal with that?” Corker asked. “You have two talk radio hosts who completely flipped the president. And so, do we succumb to tyranny of talk radio hosts?”
Featured image via Alberto E. Rodriguez