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Let's all go to the grocery store, fill our carts with the finest of foodstuffs and roll those buggies right past the checkout line and out the door.

When the alarm goes off detecting our unscanned items, let's all simply announce: "These groceries will be paid for, indirectly, by the great new job I'm going to get in the vibrant Trump economy."

Obviously, I'm kidding.

The supermarket chains don't deserve that. They are entitled to hard currency.

The American people don't deserve it either. They are entitled to hard truth.

But recent polling suggests about a third of them will fall for Donald Trump's saying in a national address Tuesday night that Mexico will indeed pay for his border wall, just as he said it would, though, as he explains, through an indirect transaction stemming from his renegotiated trade agreement.

For one problem, the agreement hasn't been ratified.

For another, the only remotely quasi-sane basis for such an assertion is that, by the new agreement's provisions that might bring industries back from Mexico to the United States, the American economy would eventually be sufficiently stimulated to generate tax revenue offsetting the price tag on the wall.

It's called the Trump Accounting Method, which has produced a few bankruptcies over the years.

Trump had the utter audacity to go on national television Tuesday evening from the Oval Office and trivialize the presidency, the Oval Office, even television, and certainly us.

From the place where genuine national tragedies and emergencies have been addressed, he overstated and misstated his way through a puny sales job for his utter contrivance. He did it, per usual, merely to feed his ego and vanity, and his base, the latter of which he likes because, getting back to the bigger point, it feeds his ego and vanity.

Trump said there's a crisis at the southern border necessitating this wall, over which he's shut down the government.

But there isn't a crisis. There's less influx now than in 2000. More terrorist suspects have been stopped trying to enter from Canada than Mexico, and not many from either.

Anyway, if the point is that terrorists will sneak in absent a wall, why do we worry exclusively about the southern border?

Terrorists aren't stupid, just evil. There's probably a lot of handy sneaking places along the Canadian border.

Terrorism is fought with technology and spying. In cases when suspected terrorists are physically detained, it's almost always at our airports.

And Trump said opioids are flowing across the southern border. That's largely true. But they're not via immigrants. They're largely in undetectable mailings from China, to whom Trump's own opioid commission said we're losing the opioid fight.

Trump said Democrats favored the wall until he proposed it. On that one, the issue is height and length. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have supported money for a 700-mile fence. Trump is talking about a higher wall and for many more miles than that. But by Trump standards, that one soars with truthiness.

What must be remembered is that Trump--or at least his White House, largely in the person of Vice President Mike Pence--told Congress that the administration would accept a spending bill without money for the wall. But then, after the Senate passed it in good faith, Russ Limbaugh and Ann Coulter assailed Trump for being lily-livered, and he, being lily-livered, got scared of Rush and Ann and reneged.

Then, when Nancy Pelosi got back in as House speaker and directed her new House majority to pass that same measure and send it right back to the Senate, Mitch McConnell refused to bring up the bill he previously had ushered to passage.

Why? Because the president of his party is a madman, but a madman supported by a great many Republicans, and McConnell dare not cross the mighty madman.

The best way out of this sham of a jam, this shutdown, is for Trump to declare a national emergency, which there isn't, and assert the executive authority to get the wall built.

Then he can crow that he's won and sign the spending bill absent the wall money.

Government can reopen, and the litigation can begin over whether Trump has the authority. The matter will wend its way, probably expeditiously, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is some basis in law for Trump to be permitted such an action. But there is no basis for him to do it on transparent lies, of which the Supreme Court members would be aware.

They'll probably vote 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts going one way or the other. We'll have either part of a wall or a wall, and several wasted billions, to which we're well-accustomed.

The only solution to Trump is voting or convicting him out of office, whichever comes first.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: JOHN BRUMMETT: So, about that wall ...


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  • PopMom
    January 10, 2019 at 6:30 a.m.

    good column. Trump is more worried about his growing legal problems than the shutdown. The shutdown is taking coverage away from the information coming out about the Mueller investigation. Through pleadings filed by Manafort's attorneys, we know that Manafort funneled Trump Campaign polling data to the Russians. Why would he do that if not that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to get their help in the 2016 election? There apparently are some grand jury proceedings occurring against Russian companies or persons in this country. We know that the Supreme Court has been involved in reviewing the basis for a fine for a failure to comply with a subpoena in one of those cases. Some speculate that Rosenstein is now satisfied that Mueller has the goods on the whole Trump-Russia campaign conspiracy. White House lawyers are now arguing that executive privilege can allow the White House to prevent release of a Mueller report. I don't think that that dog will hunt. Trump is a desperate man and his grandstanding at the border is not going to help him.

  • WGT
    January 10, 2019 at 7:10 a.m.

    It has gone from Mexico will pay for the wall to this administration holding fellow American citizens hostage until Congress pays for the wall. This is the behavior of a deranged individual. This is not Presidential. There is no willingness to compromise or capitulate. The administration is in tatters and deteriorating quickly. Vote out or convict out, one of us has got to have some relief.

  • Skeptic1
    January 10, 2019 at 8:20 a.m.

    Hey John, do you have an alarm system on your house, do you have a fence/wall? The hypocrisy of you morally bankrupt loons is not going unnoticed by the thinking adults in the country. These mega rich white politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer both live behind gates and walls to protect their families but it's immoral and racist to have a wall to protect the rest of us. Keep it up it assures Trump's reelection.

  • RBear
    January 10, 2019 at 8:28 a.m.

    Hey skeptic, are you ignoring the fact we already have border security at many points along the border including the areas CBP recommended? Do you deny the fact that border crossings are regulated and that almost all families seeking asylum turn themselves in to border security agents today?
    BTW, yet another lie from you. Pelosi's house DOES NOT HAVE a wall around it. Keep up with your constant lies.

  • Molly44
    January 10, 2019 at 9:44 a.m.

    Skeptic, you poor scared little girl. Don't be so scared. Americans are more likely to be harmed by other Americans or by their eating habits, or in some place their water. The bogeyman isn't going to come from Mexico when he comes. We have seen the bogeyman and it is us. A wall on our southern border will just be yard art.

    Fact: most of the drugs are shipped here

    Fact: most of the illegal immigrants come by overstaying their visa

    Fact: all of the potential terrorists aren't coming across the border from Mexico.

  • GOHOGS19
    January 10, 2019 at 9:47 a.m.

    RBear - if Pelosi's house has no wall what holds up the roof? All houses have walls, doors, locks, etc, for a reason.

  • GeneralMac
    January 10, 2019 at 9:52 a.m.

    Since RBear doesn't believe ant news site leaning right, I'll post some facts from a left leaning site.

    # of ILLEGALS crossing are way down since 2000?


    But still VERY HIGH # of ILLEGALS trying to enter the US.

    From the article written in the Guardian in Oct of 2018 stated 396,579 ILLEGALS were apprehended after crossing the border in 2018.

    Another 124,511 turned themselves in seeking aid and were denied entry.

    Gee, RBear says MAJORITY of families turn themselves in ?

    According to CBP figures out of 521,000 total, ONLY 125,000 turned themselves in.

    396,579 must not have gotten the memo ....SARC

    Low estimates are there already are 10 MILLION ILLEGALS in the US and over another half MILLION dtill trying yearly to get in.

    This is not accounting for the # who...DO...make it in.

    Yup, few are coming anymore.......SARC

  • Packman
    January 10, 2019 at 10:03 a.m.

    Once again, John Brummett crafts an article from DNC talking points to fulfill his job description: Mexico not paying for wall - check; Trump trivializes the presidency - check; Trump lied - check; There's not a crisis at our southern border - check; A walk won't work because terrorists are smart enough to evade it - check; Opiods coming across our southern border is no big deal - check; Democrats have misspoke in the past when they favored a wall - check; Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter control Trump (But PopSnob says it's Putin that controls Turmp?) - check; Trump is a madman - check; Trump lied (again) - check; MUST get Trump out of office - check.
    That's quite a long list of DNC talking points there Johnny. Have you checked on Ruth Ginsberg today? That 5-4 SCOTUS thingy is in great peril. The old girl's probably in hospice care and may not last through the month.
    Hey molly - Fact: Physical barriers work to protect our borders from foreign trespassers.

  • Bullgod1984
    January 10, 2019 at 10:17 a.m.

    Using your horrible grocery store analogy, what usually happens if you walk through the doors of the grocery store (border) without paying (breaking the law)? You're drug back inside the store and held until police arrive to arrest you for breaking the law. The alarm system at the door alerted personnel to the theft and it was stopped. So it is a combination of a barrier and technology that stopped the illegal act.

  • seitan
    January 10, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

    GOHOGs. RBEAR said Pelosi does not have a wall "around" her house. Try to keep up.