Just before Christmas, a partial government shutdown was triggered when congress refused to approve a $5 billion piggy bank for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Almost two weeks later, and the shutdown is still in full force, affecting nearly a million government employees.
As the negotiations continue, a source who claims to be familiar with the entire saga says that Trump won’t back down from his demands, and is refusing to accept the Democrats’ offer to re-open government as they continue their talks because he “would look foolish if [he] did that,” according to a report by CNN.
On Wednesday, Trump met with congressional leadership from both parties, which, considering the government is still in partial shutdown, clearly did not render any favorable results.
Trump has laid the blame for the shutdown solely at the feet of the Democrats, who have provided the strongest opposition to his border wall funding. With the Democrats taking control of the House officially on Thursday, they are set to hold a vote to re-open government, but the president is unlikely to sign anything they come up with.
“Our question to the President and to the Republicans is, ‘Why don’t you accept what you have already done to open up government?’ ” asked California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the presumed new House speaker, referring to a bipartisan, Senate-passed funding measure, albeit one Trump has never publicly endorsed.
Trump won't stop shutdown because he doesn't want to look “foolish.” sources say. https://t.co/oAskebB6N6— EssenViews/Commentary (@essenviews) January 2, 2019
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said that Trump was unable to provide a satisfactory answer as to why the government couldn’t be reopened while the negotiations for funding continued.
“I asked him directly… He could not give a good answer,” Schumer said.
Democrats proposed a plan to pass measures funding the government, including Homeland Security, so that the government could resume operations while they continued negotiating, but Trump refused that approach. After Schumer asked him numerous times why, he responded, “I would look foolish if I did that,” according to the source.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was also present at the meeting, and called the situation at the southern border a “crisis,” according to officials. She also argued that what Democrats were offering, “status quo funding,” was not enough.
The source stated that while the meeting didn’t result in “raised voices,” neither side was prepared to budge on their stance throughout the entire encounter, leaving the government still in shutdown as the new members of congress take their seats on Wednesday.