First, the good news—the fact President Donald Trump did this at all. He is holding strong with the government shutdown and dedicated the first Oval Office address of his presidency to stopping illegal immigration. [Full text: Donald Trump’s immigration address, Politico, January 8, 2019]
It’s impossible to imagine any hypothetical Republican president in recent years doing this. Certainly Mitt Romney, John McCain, or any of the Bushes would not. This alone counts for something.
Even Ann Coulter, who has been very hard on President Trump in recent weeks, thought it was a “beautiful speech.”
Beautiful speech. Call Congress and ask your representatives to fund the wall. 202 224 3121— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 9, 2019
Some major strong points:
Before the address, Chuck Schumer tweeted a “prebuttal” showing Donald Trump claiming Mexico would pay for the wall.
President @realDonaldTrump wants you to forget he shut down the U.S. government until American taxpayers fund a wall he insisted Mexico would pay for. Here are a few dozen examples. pic.twitter.com/G0xvsBO6gH— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 9, 2019
Again, there is an obvious answer to this—a remittance tax. Put simply, Donald Trump needs to do this to win. As Ann Coulter said on Wednesday "He never said Mexico would pre-pay. We can tax remittances anytime."
For some reason, he, Stephen Miller, Mike Pence, Donald Trump Jr., Kellyanne Conway and all the rest of the inner circle seem oblivious to this concept. By refusing to mention a remittance tax, he handed the Democrats a huge gift. The only possible reason one can think of is because banks and financial services may oppose a remittance tax. Yet even this is just speculation. The refusal to mention this concept would checkmate the opposition; neglecting it is political malpractice of the highest kind.
During his speech, President Trump said a trade deal with Mexico would “indirectly” pay for the wall. This is nonsense. A remittance tax would force Mexico and other Latin American countries to pay for the wall and recoup some of the costs these failed states have imposed on us. Not doing this makes it easy for the Democrats to tell the American people that the president promised the wall would cost nothing.
This is especially dangerous because President Trump is trusting in the American people to pressure Congress. This will be hard to do in the face of united media opposition. Many of President Trump's most fervent supporters have also been banned from social media in the years since his election, making it more difficult for them to organize. Refusing to use the weapon of the remittance tax is a tragic blunder that robs much of the effectiveness of what would otherwise be a historic, important, and patriotic speech.
Now, as in 2016, it is in the hands of the people.