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Conservatives to Trump: You caved!

POLITICO logo POLITICO 1/25/2019 By Matthew Choi
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Conservatives had a quick message for President Donald Trump after he announced a deal to end the government shutdown without funds for his border wall: You caved!

"Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States," tweeted conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

"Nancy Pelosi is alpha," tweeted conservative film maker Mike Cernovich.

And right wing commentator Michael Malice opined: "Apparently a wall isn't as good as a cave."

Conservative outlets, from the Drudge Report to Breitbart News, also blasted headlines in dramatic font declaring Trump caved with "NO WALL."

FILE: LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Ann Coulter speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon) © Getty Images FILE: LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Ann Coulter speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon)

The response came like clockwork, only minutes after Trump announced the deal to reopen the government for three weeks with no guarantee of wall funds. It was unsurprising considering conservative figures including Coulter were some of the initial instigators who prodded Trump to shut down the government to get his wall.

After the White House revealed in December it could back off from Trump's demands for over $5 billion in border wall funding to avoid a shutdown, Coulter mocked the president on Twitter, leading to a feud in which Trump unfollowed one of his biggest campaign supporters.

"The chant wasn't 'SIGN A BILL WITH B.S. PROMISES ABOUT "BORDER SECURITY" AT SOME POINT IN THE FUTURE, GUARANTEED TO FAIL!' It was "BUILD A WALL!" Coulter tweeted in December.

During a March interview with The New York Times' Frank Bruni, Coulter said Trump should feel the "fear of God" if he doesn't build the wall, arguing his supporters would leave him en masse unless he fulfills his campaign promise.

"He could sell Ivanka Trump merchandise from the Oval Office if he would just build the wall," Coulter said. "If he doesn't change course, no, they're never coming back."

Trump announced the deal with Democrats during an address in the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon, where he continued to emphasize the need for physical barriers on the border. The deal will reopen the government only until Feb. 15, after which Trump said he would reshutter the government or declare a national emergency if he does not secure funding for the wall by then.

But Trump's description of what kind of wall he wants has evolved in a notable concession to his critics. Trump said Friday that natural barriers already provide ample protection in some parts of the border, and that resources for border control should also focus on ports of entry and technology developments beyond a physical barrier.

"The walls that we are building are not medieval walls. They are smart walls designed to meet the needs of front-line border agents and are operationally effective," Trump said. "We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea, we never did, we never proposed that."

He did propose that, however. Many times. And it was what many of his most ardent conservative followers called on him to do. But with the government shutdown stretching past a month and vital government services reaching a breaking point, the president apparently calculated that he had little choice but to concede. Trump's approval rating also suffered from the standoff, with The Associated Press showing about 60 percent of Americans blaming Trump for the shutdown.

But Malice didn't think conceding to Democrats was likely to help Trump among his most core base.

"Jeb Bush is laughing so hard rn that he's about to choke on his own puke," Malice tweeted.

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