It started as cheap (but clearly effective) marketing line used to stir up mouth-breathing xenophobes at packed rallies. It evolved into an imaginary threat buoyed by invented stats and outright lies. It was brought back from the dead by extremist blowhards screaming from talk radio’s fringe. It revealed the limits of the self-touted negotiating skills of a fictional businessman and bankruptcy king. It led to a shutdown that is causing direct harm to apolitical government employees who have already suffered through two years of embarrassment, chaos, and verbal attacks. And now it has taken us to the precipice of an American president declaring a state of emergency (which doesn’t exist) to fund a wall (which wouldn’t protect us even if it did). So maybe it makes perfect sense that the unreality associated with this wall is the hill on which Donald Trump is making his grand political stand. Here’s the latest on the debacle.

+ Trump on the few hundred times he promised Mexico was going to pay for the wall: “When during the campaign, I would say that Mexico is going to pay for it, obviously I never said this and I never meant they’re gonna write out a check.” And don’t miss these inspiring presidential words: “The buck stops with everybody.”

+ NPR: How Is The Shutdown Affecting America?

+ WaPo: Border Protection officers sue Trump administration over pay missed during shutdown. (Getting sued over missing paychecks… Finally a presidential duty that allows Trump to draw upon his life experiences.)