The partial government shutdown has been in full swing for three and a half weeks already, and the cause of it all, President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build his wall along the southern border shared with Mexico, is no closer to reaching a satisfying conclusion.
Just last week, a meeting between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resulted in the president reportedly “slamming the table” before calling the meeting a waste of his time as he stormed out of the room. Now, it seems the president is trying to find a way to work out a deal without Pelosi’s involvement, according to a report by ABC New York.
On Tuesday, the president invited “rank-and-file House Democrats” to a meeting at the White House to discuss the issue of border wall funding. He hopes that getting new faces into the meeting will help to secure the money needed for the wall.
According to ABC, Pelosi has welcomed the move, encouraging those invited to attend so that “the group can see what she and others have been dealing with in trying to negotiate with Trump.”
An anonymous aide has said the House speaker has predicted that once they’ve met with Trump, they will call for a “citizen’s arrest.”
“I think they’re trying to pick off certain people and see if they can get them,” a Democratic aide who is familiar with the situation told Vox. “I don’t understand what he’s trying to get out of this, other than a silly photo op. Nothing can happen without leadership. They need to agree on this.”
Those invited to the meeting are apparently from districts where there is plenty of support for the president.
While Reps. Lou Correa (CA), Stephanie Murphy (FL), David Scott (SC), Charlie Crist (FL), and Abigail Spanberger (VA) were all on the incite list, not a single Democratic representative actually showed up to the lunch.
“Is anybody surprised that the president is trying to get votes wherever he can get votes?” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) asked reporters this morning, laughing as he said it. “We are totally united, totally.”
Democrats have repeatedly pointed the finger at Trump, who early in December said he would be proud to shut down the government. They say the president could easily reopen government tomorrow, but refuses to do so until he gets what he wants.
“We’re very conscious of the fact that this is a bully and when you allow him to succeed by holding the government hostage you can expect to see that play run again,” Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut said.
Just yesterday, the president refused a short-term fix that would allow the government to reopen, saying he would “never ever back down.”