Joe Biden thinks he knows who is responsible for the federal government shutdown — Rush Limbaugh and the “conservative blonde woman.”
The former vice president took aim at right-wing media figures for pushing Donald Trump to go back on initial indications that he would sign a temporary funding measure and instead insisting that any measure to keep open the government include funding for the border wall. That led to a government shutdown that is now in its 15th day.
“Republicans overwhelmingly voted to keep the government open. Then Rush Limbaugh and the conservative blonde woman says he’s losing his base, and so he’s changed his mind,” Biden said in an appearance on CNN, via The Hill, in what was seen as a reference to Ann Coulter.
The federal government shutdown has now lasted more than two weeks, with no end in sight. Democrats have vowed not to offer any funding for Trump’s border wall, but the president has insisted that Congress must authorize $5.6 billion to build the wall. Trump reportedly told Democratic leaders that he would be willing to keep the government shut down for weeks or even months, if needed.
Joe Biden is not the only one claiming that Donald Trump shut down the government at the behest of right-wing media. Shortly after Trump made the shocking decision to reject a bipartisan funding measure he had previously said he would sign, CNN analyst Chris Cillizza wrote that he believes Fox News was the driving force in the decision.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 5, 2019
Cillizza noted that Trump is very easily swayed by segments he watches on Fox News, and that Trump’s favorite show had been continually attacking him when it appeared Trump was going soft on border wall funding. Cillizza noted that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy called it a “stunning turn of events” and said if Trump agreed to the resolution, “he loses and the Democrats will win everything they want.”
“If you think that criticism didn’t impact Trump’s thinking on the wall, you don’t know Trump,” Cillizza wrote. “He prizes his political base over all else. And he views Fox and Friends as the in-house programming for the base. If Fox and Friends is blasting him, Trump knows his base hears it.”
It is not clear what could bring an end to the government shutdown, though a recent report claimed that Donald Trump may be “caving” on demands that Congress fund the wall, instead going forward with plans he had floated to declare a national emergency in order to get the funding.