President Trump walks to board Marine One on the 20th day of the partial government shutdown. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The Jan. 8 editorial “Leverage on the wall” cut Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) too much slack. It suggested that the reason he refuses to bring to the Senate floor any bill not preapproved by President Trump is because he has been, effectively, burned by the president’s inconsistency and is thus “in a petulant funk.” Mr. McConnell’s motivation in this instance, as it was in his refusal to allow the Senate to consider Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, is far more malevolent: to make sure that his president gets his way.

In the Garland case, Mr. McConnell denied then-President Barack Obama a nomination that was his to make on grounds of a phony principle regarding the (non-)prerogatives of lame-duck presidents. In this case, Mr. McConnell again has made up a principle out of whole cloth, this time subverting the entire system of checks and balances by preempting Congress and denying lawmakers the opportunity to exercise their right to override a presidential veto if they deem it necessary.

Mr. McConnell should be called out for what he is actually doing: obstructing democracy.

Sonya Michel, Silver Spring

Democrats should agree to let President Trump have $5.7 billion for a border wall on one condition: that the White House agrees to request no new money for the wall at least until 2021. That way, the decision to continue or not continue funding the wall will be up to the next administration. Voters will have a clear opportunity to make their desires known during the 2020 election for a new president.

David Sarokin, Washington

The Trump Republicans were in control of the government for two years. They could have built the wall at any time, but they didn’t. Now that the Democrats have some power, President Trump wants his wall, and he wants it now. This isn’t even really about a wall; it’s a power play — a way to demonize his opponents, build himself up and divide us even more than we already are. He’s running the country like he ran his reality-TV show: Conflict equals ratings, and high ratings keep him the most important person in the room. Which is his whole point.

Please, I beg the Republicans who have not lost their ability to think for themselves: Save us. Open the government and do your jobs, or go home and let someone who will take your place. Mr. Trump’s presidency is a national emergency.

Jim Todd, Pamplin, Va.