Trump tries to rewrite the history of the government shutdown
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that if there was another government shutdown this week, he would blame Democrats for it.
He also said he accepted blame for the most recent shutdown, which is not at all accurate.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon at the White House. “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault. I accepted the first one and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, because people learned during that shutdown all about the problems coming in from the southern border.”
The last shutdown — the longest in history — began under unified Republican government and lasted because Trump demanded budget appropriations that included funding for a wall that he spent years promising would be paid for by Mexico.
On Tuesday, Trump attempted to draw a distinction between who was responsible for this most recent government shutdown and who would be to blame for any future government shutdowns. “I accept that, I’ve always accepted it,” he said about the shutdown which ended on January 25th.
“But this one I would never accept if it happens,” he said, referring to the prospect of a future shutdown.
“But I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he added, “This would be totally on the Democrats.”
Indeed, two weeks prior to the government shutting down last December, Trump intimated that he would be only too happy to take responsibility. In a public meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”
As that shutdown grew nigh, however, Trump quickly cast off that mantle and spent most of the next 35 days blaming Democrats for the shutdown.
Just before the shutdown, Trump told reporters, “It’s up to the Democrats. So it’s really the Democrat shutdown.” Then, once the government shut down began, Trump tweeted that the Democrats owned the shutdown.
The Democrats now own the shutdown!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
On December 22, 2018, the day after the government shut down, Trump’s campaign sent out an email to supporters which entirely blamed Democratic congressional leaders for the shutdown: “Chuck and Nancy are SOLELY responsible for this shutdown because using the safety and security of American citizens as a bargaining tool to play political games is just plain WRONG.”
As December rolled on with no end to the shutdown in sight, Trump campaign emails began referring to it as the “#SchumerShutdown.”
Trump told reporters in early January that the shutdown’s length depended on the Democrats: “Look, this shutdown could end tomorrow, and it could also go on for a long time. It depends — it’s really dependent on the Democrats.” Such rhetoric continued on January 14, when Trump told reporters, “We should get on with our lives. The Democrats are stopping us, and they’re stopping a lot of great people from getting paid.”
Trump resorted to name-calling on Twitter to blame Pelosi and Schumer:
Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
On January 25, as Congress passed a three-week stopgap funding bill with no money for the wall, Trump said in a Rose Garden announcement that he was “very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and re-open the federal government.”
And just before Trump delivered the State of the Union address, the campaign sent supporters an “Official State of the Union Prep Survey,” which contained this question: “Do you think the media did a proper job of blaming Democrats for the Shutdown?”
As for the possibility of future government shutdowns, there is reportedly an agreement, reached Monday evening by the conference committee, to fund the government and provide a small portion of the wall construction money initially demanded by President Trump. Trump said on Tuesday, “I can’t say I’m happy, I can’t say I’m thrilled,” about the tentative deal, which would allocate $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fencing.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the deal on Tuesday morning. Congress has until Friday to pass a funding bill for Trump to sign before the government shuts down again.