Donald Trump is too busy watching Fox News to bother working with Democrats to end the government shutdown, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse claims.
The shutdown has now lasted seven days, after Trump’s abrupt reversal last week on funding for the border wall. Last week, Trump gave signals to Congressional leaders that he would sign a measure giving temporary funding to the government, but abruptly changed his mind and vetoed the measure, saying he would not sign a measure unless it included border wall funding. As Newsweek noted, Trump is now taking the blame for keeping the stalemate going.
Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, said that Trump is too busy watching Fox News to bother meeting with Democrats and trying to arrange a deal to end the shutdown. Though he has remained in Washington and skipped a planned vacation to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida amid the shutdown, Trump has not met with Democratic leaders in more than two weeks.
“Wow. Too busy with Fox & Friends?” Whitehouse wrote on Twitter.
Donald Trump has previously been criticized for being too reliant on Fox News for his political stances. After Trump initially reversed course and rejected the bipartisan measure to keep the government open, many criticized the president for caving to the criticism from right-wing members of the media, who accused him of going back on his campaign promise to build the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. As CNN analyst Chris Cillizza wrote at the time, the chorus of criticism from Fox News appeared to be the deciding factor in Trump changing his mind.
Many political experts see no clear end in sight for the government shutdown, with Donald Trump showing no sign of bending on his demand for border wall funding, and even digging deeper. Over the course of the week, Trump threatened to close the entire border and later said Democrats were directly to blame for the death of immigrant children while in U.S. custody over the course of the last three weeks.
Trump has also been accused of putting more focus on tweets blaming Democrats than doing what it takes to end the shutdown and bringing furloughed government employees back to work.
Instead of negotiating an end to the #TrumpShutdown, Trump has disappeared from public view and "filled the silence with a rash of tweets that have blamed Democrats for the shutdown," even though he promised in the Oval Office that he would not blame them. https://t.co/iPdFoG9XkE— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 29, 2018
Democrats have also remained strong in their stance not to give any border wall funding to Donald Trump, and their position will grow even stronger in the coming week when they take control of the House of Representatives.