- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Say what one wants about President Donald J. Trump, but he is a man who makes every effort to keep his promises.

The list of promises he made during his campaign for the White House is prominently displayed on a white board as he checks off those he’s been able to deliver. He is now clearly focused on the one promise that in many ways defined his candidacy. Mr. Trump promised voters border security at least in part by building a “wall” to secure the nation’s southern border.

It’s his determination to keep that promise that has led to the current government shutdown. Democratic leaders are just as committed to further opening our borders as Mr. Trump is to getting control of them. Democrats maintain that there is no immigration crisis other than that we as a nation aren’t as welcoming as we should be. They see little if any difference between those who come here legally, spending years and thousands of dollars to become citizens, and those who flaunt our laws by sneaking over the border. While the caravan of thousands approached our borders, Democrats argued that it was no more than a spontaneous effort by oppressed women and children seeking a safe harbor.

Reports indicating that the caravan was organized by open-borders advocacy groups and led by a man wanted for terrorist activities were simply ignored by leading Democrats and a friendly media. While more than 90 percent of those in the caravan were young men, including gang members and others who would never be allowed legally into this country, the press portrayed it as consisting mainly of women and children. Critical examination of the caravan’s makeup, leadership and funding were dismissed as bogus campaign scare tactics originating with a president willing to exploit the suffering of others to further his own political ends.

The Democratic leadership’s ideological belief in essentially an “open borders” policy and the desire to deny the president almost anything he seeks was underscored last week by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s declaration that the impasse will not end until Republicans throw in the towel on “the wall.” Mr. Schumer told reporters after a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, “If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham got it right in a Friday interview, pointing out that while he sometimes disagrees with the president, the one thing he likes is that Mr. Trump tries to keep his promises. He told a Fox News interviewer “When you make a promise to the American people you should keep it He promised to build a wall, and he is going to fight hard to keep that promise.”

Mr. Graham continued, “After the caravan, if you don’t see the need for more border security, you are blind. Here’s the problem. I think Democrats hate Trump so much they want him to lose, even though it would be good for the country to work with him on border security. And if he doesn’t break ‘em now, it’s going to be a terrible 2019. ” So Mr. President,” he advised, “dig in.”

After the 2016 election, The Washington Post chided the newly elected President Trump for his apparent desire to actually do what he promised during the campaign. The Post claimed that campaign rhetoric is one thing, but governing is another, and hoped Mr. Trump would follow not his instincts, but the advice of D.C. insiders. What many simply couldn’t accept was that unlike most candidates, Mr. Trump actually intended to keep every promise. Like his policies or not, one has to admire this president’s attempt to keep faith with those who elected him. Few successful candidates do — and that failure explains more than anything the disdain voters have for them.

Candidate Donald Trump caught a wave that no one knew existed, he believed something needed to be done to secure the nation’s southern border and understood that voters shared that belief. Democrats can disagree, but poll after poll shows that voters still want the border security Candidate Trump promised and President Trump is trying to deliver.

Government shutdowns in the past like the one in which we find ourselves now are not simply a result of partisan bickering, but of deep differences between the parties on issues of importance to them and, more important, the American people. The question of which party will benefit or be hurt by the current shutdown will be determined not by whether voters can be convinced that Mr. Trump or Mr. Schumer is to blame for it, but on whether they agree with the president or the Democratic leader on immigration and border security.

• David A. Keene is an editor at large for The Washington Times.

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