Most Americans might attribute the partial government shutdown — now the longest in U.S. history — to border security and the president’s demand for a $5.7 billion fund to build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough recently argued that the shutdown is really about “nothing,” the Hill reported.
The Morning Joe co-host — and former Republican — borrowed the slogan of a popular ’90s sitcom during his show on the morning of Wednesday, January 16, dubbing the shutdown a “Seinfeld shutdown, a shutdown over nothing.”
Scarborough continued, arguing that members of the Republican party didn’t even want the border wall to begin with.
“Republicans and Democrats agreed by unanimous consent to keep open the government,” he explained, referring to a spending bill that was passed shortly before the shutdown began in December. The measure would have funded the government through February 8, but in the end was rejected by President Donald Trump.
It was then that the president began steadfastly demanding a line item of $5.7 billion within a larger stopgap spending bill in order to build a southern border wall. This demand that the barrier be included in the spending bill ultimately led to the government’s partial shutdown, one which is now entering its fourth week.
Many critics have attributed the president’s sudden push for his promised barrier to pressure from the media, and more specifically radio host Rush Limbaugh and political commentator Ann Coulter. Scarborough blamed the two conservative figures as well, arguing that Trump was “so insecure he listened to those two people and panicked.”
“Americans do not want this wall. They said they wanted to tune it to the point of $1.6 billion. Republicans don’t even want the wall,” the morning show host concluded. “This is Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone and not even for policy reasons. He was ready to give it up. This is just him being intimidated and frightened of some talk radio pundits.”
The partial government shutdown is about a week shy of hitting its one month mark, and there appears to be no end in sight.
Last week, President Trump met with Democratic leaders in an attempt to negotiate an end to the partial shutdown, but promptly walked out when they reiterated that they would not approve funding to build a border wall. Shortly after leaving, the president wrote on his Twitter account that the meeting was “a total waste of time.”
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
As previously reported by the Hill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters yesterday that the meeting was the last time he had been spoken with the president.