The Atlantic

What Will Trump Do If He Realizes He’s Lost the Shutdown Fight?

Trump’s push for a border wall has so far followed a predictable, four-act script. But what comes in the fifth act?
Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

Donald Trump has again folded in his negotiations with congressional Democrats—accepting a second budget deal that includes nothing close to the $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall that he demanded. This outcome was entirely predictable. The sequence of events that led here has occurred again and again when Trump negotiates. Think of it as a play in four acts.

Act I: Trump Invents a Crisis

Since entering the presidential race, Trump has relentlessly described unauthorized immigration——as a national emergency. In the final days before last November’s elections, he returned to that theme with a vengeance. In a November 1 from the Roosevelt Room, he offered “an update to the American people regarding the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min read
How High Maintenance Creates Ethical Tension
The Atlantic4 min read
It’s Okay to Leave Your Headphones at Home
The Atlantic5 min read
The Story The Pharmacist Can’t Tell
The new Netflix series attempts to contain the sprawling opioid epidemic within the conventions of true crime.