Donald Trump is threatening to shut down Washington on December 21 if he doesn’t get funding for the border wall — but the president may be nearly 1,000 miles away when it happens.
As the Palm Beach Post reported, Trump appears to have plans for a 16-day Christmas vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort, starting on the same day that the federal government shutdown would begin. The report noted that the Federal Aviation Administration posted an alert that “there will be a VIP Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in the West Palm Beach, Florida region” starting on December 21 and ending January 6, which takes place when the president is reportedly planning to stay at his luxury resort.
While Trump did not officially announce the vacation yet, there are other indications that he plans an extended time away from Washington — and away from work. Atlantic reporter Elaina Plott reported, via Twitter, that there is a “hold on Trump’s travel calendar” during that same time period.
Trump publicly threatened a shutdown in a contentious televised meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, saying that he would personally take responsibility for shutting down the government if they did not capitulate to his demands for border wall funding.
“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other… I will shut down the government. Absolutely,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
Pelosi told Trump during the meeting that he lacked the votes, even among Republican lawmakers, to get the border wall funding. His critics have accused Trump of wanting a fight over border wall funding more than he wants the funding itself.
As NBC News reported, the prospect of a government shutdown is not sitting well with Republicans, who just suffered major losses in the midterm election in what was widely seen as a rebuke of Trump’s policies. Congressman Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said Trump should be wary of the effects that Democrats suffered when they were blamed for a previous shutdown.
“I don’t see the advantage of playing this card in reverse,” Cole told NBC News.
Other Republicans have been critical of the timing of Donald Trump’s shutdown promise, which would take place just before Christmas — and would likely lead to hundreds of thousands of government employees being sent home.
It remains to be seen whether or not President Trump will follow through on his promise.