President Donald Trump on Monday kept up his calls for Democrats to immediately restart funding negotiations, pushing the argument that blame for the federal government’s longest shutdown should now lay squarely on their shoulders despite his previous declaration he would be proud to shut the government down.
Trump criticized lawmakers for leaving town over the weekend, reiterating that he was waiting in the White House for Democrats to return to the negotiating table after talks came to a standstill last week.
“I’ve been waiting all weekend,” he wrote in one tweet. “Democrats must get to work now. Border must be secured!”
“Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes,” he wrote in a second post. “At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!”
The partial government shutdown, held up over Trump’s demands that Congress appropriate $5.7 billion to fund a stretch of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, became the longest in history over the weekend, with 800,000 federal workers missing their first paychecks Friday. It is now in its 24th day with no clear indication of when or how it might end.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have fiercely resisted the White House’s demands, refusing to appropriate money. The Democrats’ unwillingness to concede has left Trump mulling a national emergency declaration, a legally dubious option that would allow him to order the military to build the wall, or dip into other pots of money within the government to bypass Congress.
Trump has wavered on accepting responsibility for the shutdown, after declaring in an Oval Office meeting last month that he would be “proud” to shut down the government over his demands for a border wall. He also has claimed that government workers have reached out to him to urge him against backing down, even if it meant they wouldn’t get paid.
Polls of government workers and Americans in general specifically have indicated that most respondents see the president as responsible for the government shutdown, despite his efforts to shift blame to Democrats.
The president on Monday also hit a group of congressional Democrats who traveled to Puerto Rico over the weekend as part of a retreat reportedly organized by the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. CBS News reported that the trip included meetings with local officials to hear about the progress of hurricane recovery efforts on the island as well as taking in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which is being performed on the island to raise money for local organizations.
Republicans have seized on the trip to accuse Democrats of a lack of commitment to bringing the shutdown to an end.
Although Trump criticized Democrats for their travel over the weekend, he will be on the road Monday in New Orleans to deliver a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation.