Trump, Pelosi and all caught in the crossfire

Published 4:12 pm Monday, January 21, 2019


The continuing spitball fight pitting President Trump vs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provides, on one level, cheap entertainment for citizens.

Pelosi this week pulled out the rug from under Trump’s State of the Union speech scheduled for Jan. 29, suggesting instead of appearing for a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives, he send his speech in writing, as presidents did more than a century ago. That was childish.

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Trump, in turn, grounded the military plane that Pelosi and other Democrats had planned to take to Afghanistan this week to visit U.S. troops. Somehow, troops may weather their disappointment at not getting a visit from people who routinely oppose defense spending. That was childish, too, right back at ya.

How’s that for maturity from three elected national leaders —all in their 70s?

This ongoing tit-for-tat calls to mind what U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a conference call with Texas reporters this week: If Democrats were willing to negotiate in good faith, the partial shutdown of the federal government could be resolved in 30 minutes.

To be fair, we wonder how much the president has been willing to negotiate in good faith, as well. We’ve seen neither “art” nor “deal” from the Oval Office of late. But Washington is a long way away.

What we in Southeast Texas have seen up close this week is this: Our local branch of the Armed Forces went without paychecks because of the continuing, partial government shutdown, which is now pushing a month. These are the men and women who protect our Sabine Neches Waterway and area ports, which are invaluable to U.S. commerce and national defense.

Local businesses and citizens are digging into their own private resources to try to help keep our Coast Guard and their families — caught in the crossfire of a political firefight — financially afloat. Regulations hinder providing much help to these brave men and women, even though most remain on duty at no pay.

Cornyn said this week he would look at ways to help local citizens help the Coast Guard. That would likely require an agreement by Congress and the president — fancy that — but given the timeframe, it is unlikely.

Local citizens, in addition to checks, were also urged to donate goods — gas cards, food, paper goods — to help the Coast Guard and their family make ends meet. Drop-off sites include the International Seafarers’ Center, 401 Houston Ave., Port Arthur.

Citizens’ efforts to aid the Coast Guard ought to be encouraged and lauded. But what a sorry situation our elected leaders have created for Coast Guard people, who are called upon to risk all for the safety of people on the Texas Coast.