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Jenny Beth Martin: Dear Mr. President, Use the Bully Pulpit to Rally Your Base

US President Donald Trump speaks during a 'Make America Great' rally in Missoula, Montana, on October 18, 2018. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
JENNY BETH MARTIN

Dear Mr. President,

You were elected President in 2016 largely on the basis of your promise to “drain the swamp.” Those who voted for you did so in the belief that you would be the first president in their lifetimes to actually follow through on his promise to end business as usual in Washington.

Since taking power almost two years ago, you have done your best to live up to that promise. You have succeeded in changing the way Washington works in many ways, and you have given hope to the tens of millions who supported your 2016 campaign that better days are, in fact, ahead.

But on one crucial campaign promise, you have not yet succeeded in bending Washington to your will.

I refer, of course, to your demand for funding to construct a secure physical barrier along the southwest border.

You are, of course, absolutely correct in insisting that construction of a wall be funded.

I have been to the border on numerous occasions, and my organization has even produced a documentary on the subject. I have spoken with federal and local law enforcement officials about how best to better secure the border, which includes building a wall in areas where there is no natural physical border to prevent illegal entry into our country. In fact, most have told me that without a wall, they will always be engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse, and illegal immigrants will always win that game in the end.

Yet Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have vowed to oppose you and have sworn their opposition to your insistence on securing $5 billion to fund construction in the next fiscal year.

Why do they oppose it? Surely, it’s not because of the amount of money in dispute — $5 billion is a rounding error to them.

And we know it’s not because they’re actually opposed to construction of physical barriers at the border. They’ve both supported that in the past.

The fact is, we know they are opposing it only because you support it. They feel empowered by the election results and want to use all of the political tools at their disposal to harm you politically.

So far, they are getting a free pass. They find it easy to oppose you because there is no pushback against them. They don’t hear it from their constituents, they don’t hear it from the members of their respective legislative caucuses, and they certainly don’t hear it from the liberal media.

They are under no pressure at all to find accommodation with you on this crucial matter of public policy.

Yet there are tens of millions of your supporters who would be willing to put pressure on them, if you would just give them the signal.

You hold the most powerful office in the world, and it is your obligation as President to use all the tools at your disposal to effect the change you promised.

Please, begin with a prime-time address from the Oval Office.

The presidential prime-time address is so valuable a tool to focus the concentration of the citizenry that it has been referred to as “the single greatest home-court advantage in the modern world.”

You have used this traditional form of presidential communication only rarely during your presidency. The very fact that you have used it as rarely as you have means that speaking to the nation from the Oval Office will enhance the sense of gravitas, and ensure that you have the largest audience possible for your remarks.

Amplify your comments by sharing excerpts of the video and the full text of your written remarks through your Twitter feed. I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of the 56.2 million people who follow your Twitter feed are supporters. If you could get just one-tenth of them to heed your call to contact their Member of Congress and urge support for funding a border wall, the Capitol Hill switchboard would shut down.

Take the phone numbers of the millions of your supporters whose data you’ve captured at your rallies over the last two years and send them a message urging them to contact their Member of Congress and demand they vote to fund the wall. I know the text message system works – I get fundraising texts from it on a regular basis. Try sending a different kind of message this time – instead of giving information, ask for action. You may be surprised how well it works.

Sit for an afternoon of interviews with the leading conservative talk radio hosts. Spend time on the air with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Mike Gallagher, and Breitbart News’s popular SiriusXM radio shows. Urge their audiences to contact their Member of Congress on the issue.

The point is, Mr. President, you have energized a segment of the American body politic that has long been dormant. I have traveled the country for the last decade, and I can safely say your candidacy and your election have done more to reinvigorate these “forgotten” citizens than anything else I’ve ever seen. You have an army at your disposal. Use it.

It is not enough that they be passionate. You must find a way to turn their passion into action.

We are thrilled that we have a president who says he is so determined to secure funding for the border wall on which he campaigned that he is willing to take the blame for a government shutdown if that’s what it takes to win funding. We stand behind you 100 percent.

But we will not accept mealy-mouthed excuses. We have had quite enough of them from the likes of the current and past GOP congressional leadership, who always seem to have a reasonable explanation for why they could not deliver on their promises.

As President of the United States, you have communications tools at your disposal that make you the envy of everyone who wants to send a message to stir action. Use them. Deploy the full arsenal at your fingertips – the prime-time address, the talk radio interviews, the Twitter messaging, the text communications.

Show Schumer and Pelosi they picked the wrong guy when they went looking for a Republican who could be easily rolled. We’ve got your back.

If ever there were a time to use the political tools at your disposal, much the same way Sen. Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi are doing, now is the time. Please, use the bully pulpit at your disposal and let’s turn your supporters’ passion into action.

Jenny Beth Martin is chairman of Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.

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