Just 10 days after telling Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would be “proud” to shut down the government and promising that he would not “blame” Democrats for a shutdown, as the New York Times reported, Donald Trump abruptly shifted course and directly blamed Democrats for what appeared to be an inevitable shutdown on Friday.
In a Twitter message posted shortly after 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, Trump declared, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”
But in a meeting with Schumer and incoming Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on December 11, Trump told Schumer that he would be “proud” to cause a government shutdown over “border security,” telling Schumer, “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”
Trump insists that any spending bill to keep the government open must include funding for his desired wall along the United States-Mexico border. Democrats have said that a border wall will be an ineffective and wasteful measure, favoring other, less drastic and costly means of reforming immigration laws and procedures. The deadline for resolving the dispute and passing a spending bill that would avoid a shutdown is midnight on Friday night, as Time Magazine reported.
Watch Trump make his promise not to blame Democrats for a government shutdown in the video below, courtesy of the Associated Press.
In a poll released this week, nearly twice as many Americans said they would blame Republicans for a government shutdown than would blame Democrats, according to USA Today. While the USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed a sharp partisan divide on the issue, a smaller percentage of Republicans, 58 percent, said they would blame Democrats for a shutdown.
Among Democrats, 83 percent said that Republicans would shoulder the blame for a shutdown — a shutdown that on Friday Trump said would continue “for a very long time,” according to the Associated Press.
But even though 58 percent of Republicans said they blame Democrats if the government shuts down, about two-thirds of Republicans said that they support shutting down the government, according to the USA Today report on the poll, a seemingly puzzling contradiction. Among Democrats, 83 percent are against a shutdown, as are 56 percent of independents, according to the poll.
The spending bill, like any spending measure, is subject to a filibuster, meaning that it would require 60 votes to pass. There are only 51 Republicans currently in the Senate. “The bottom line is simple: The Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall,” Schumer said on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.