Talk Show Host Shares How Conservative Listeners Have Reacted To Trump's Shutdown Deal
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Conservative reaction was swift to President Trump's decision Friday to sign a bill that keeps the government open until February 15 without any new funding for a wall on the Mexican border. Ann Coulter let fly this tweet. 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. Other conservatives have been kinder. Phil Valentine has been getting reaction on his talk show, which airs in Nashville. And he joins us now.
PHIL VALENTINE: Thank you, Lulu - appreciate that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There are federal workers in Nashville. In fact, a food bank opened to serve them. It's a state, though, that went for Trump. What are you hearing?
VALENTINE: Well, I think that people are disappointed. At least, the conservatives I know are disappointed that he had to do this. I think the reality was that the government shutdown wasn't working to get the wall. So he's going to have to take a different tact.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's your reaction? I mean, what do you think of the president and how he handled this particular face-off?
VALENTINE: Well, I thought it was, you know, good intentions. And, you know, sometimes, you have to use a government shutdown as leverage. I was disappointed that he had to do it to open the government back up and not get the wall. But I think he's got another plan. And yeah, I think that a lot of Trump supporters - at least, the people listening to my show - are very forgiving. They think that he's probably going to outsmart everybody in the end. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see. But I think he's probably going to go the emergency - national emergency route. That'll probably be tied up in court for a few months, probably till October. And then we'll see what the Supreme Court does. I think that's - that was his last resort. But I think he's run out of options.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What do the federal workers who call into your show say?
VALENTINE: Well, I had one that was calling in, saying he was going into Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a vacation for him. But see; he'd been with the government a while. If you've been with the government a while, you know that these things happen. And he says as a longtime government employee, I have to understand that I have to save up for these times when I may not have money, you know, at the ready when there's a government shutdown. So it was a mess. But then you had places like USAA, you know, Navy Federal Credit - these people were giving interest-free loans. And I was hoping a lot of people would take advantage of that. But it's tough. I mean, when you're not getting a paycheck and you're being used as a pawn between the two political parties to get something done, it's not a good thing.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, national public polling shows a dip in support for Mr. Trump even among his base. Does this moment mark any kind of shift that you can tell from your talk radio fans to their general support of President Trump?
VALENTINE: Well, I think it's too early to tell because it's like watching a football game. Trump threw an interception. Nancy Pelosi did a pick six, took it to the House and then spiked the ball in the end zone.
VALENTINE: But now it's like Tom Brady with two minutes to go in the game. And we're going to see if Trump can drive all the way to the other end and score the winning touchdown. That remains to be seen in the next three weeks.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Something that you said - the idea that Trump voters are very forgiving of the president. Everyone has sort of portrayed this battle as the opening salvo of the 2020 election, of his re-election campaign. Do you think that this will hurt him?
VALENTINE: I don't think this incident as far as, you know, caving on the government shutdown will hurt him as long as he gets the wall in the long term. I mean, sometimes, you know, you're in negotiations. And things don't go as you had planned. And you have to go to plan B or plan C. But I will tell you this, Lulu. If he doesn't do the wall or if he doesn't do everything he can to get the wall, I think, yes, that will definitely hurt him. But if he goes his route, gets blocked by the lower courts, gets blocked by the Supreme Court on a national emergency, I don't know what else he, himself, as the president can do. At that point, he's done all he can do to try to get the wall. And I think that the people understand that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Phil Valentine, host of The Phil Valentine Show, heard on the news talk radio WWTN in Nashville, thank you so much.
VALENTINE: Thanks, Lulu.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.