Bored at the White House on Christmas Eve as his wife flew back from Florida to be with him, President Donald Trump spend the day watching Fox News and tweeting about the government shutdown that was caused by a rift with Democrats over border security.
The president sent multiple messages that made it clear that he was watching network news from the residence of the White House, where he said that he was ‘all alone’ until his wife Melania returned from Palm Beach.
‘I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,’ he said on Monday afternoon. ‘At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!’
His staffers had left for the day to be with their families, just as lawmakers had mostly departed Washington.
Nothing was on the public schedule for the president that the White House typically sends out. In fact, it did not go out at all on Monday on the last two days prior amid the partial shutdown.
His tweets, including an attack on the Federal Reserve, sent the Dow Jones Industrial average tumbling 650 points on what was being declared the worst Christmas Eve ever for the market.
‘It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,’ a joint statement from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said. ‘The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense.’
POOR ME: Bored at the White House on Christmas Eve as his wife flew back from Florida to be with him, President Donald Trump spend the day watching Fox News and tweeting about the government shutdown that was caused by a rift with Democrats over border security
NOT ALONE ANYMORE: The president tweeted out a photo of himself receiving a briefing on North Korea in the Oval several hours later
A meeting with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was added at some point as Trump incessantly tweeted about an array of topics, including his decision to pull troops out of Syria. But it was not clear how long it lasted, as she was never seen coming or going.
Trump’s wife was supposed to be flying back so that they could take calls on behalf of NORAD together, as tradition demands, from children tracking Santa. However, she was apparently away as the president stewed alone, away from the Oval Office.
The marine who stands guard when Trump is in the West Wing was not at his post on Monday when the president was tweeting. He was never seen outside the door, indicating that Trump was in the residence most of the day.
The president tweeted out a photo of himself receiving a briefing on North Korea in the Oval that he said was taken on Monday, but it was unclear from the shot when exactly the picture was taken, as it was sent when the marine wasn’t on guard.
Melania Trump had flown on Friday to Mar-a-Lago on a vacation the president was supposed to participate in with their son Barron. The White House announced that she was flying back for Christmas after it said that Trump would remain in D.C. until a deal is brokered with Democrats.
That wasn’t going to happen until at least Thursday Dec. 27 and possibly not until after that. The White House said Sunday that it was settling in for a long closure that could last until 2019.
A deal with Democrats to reopen the government did not appear to be on the horizon on Monday afternoon, either. Just the opposite, in fact, Democratic leaders signaled after Trump’s tweets.
They begged him to stop causing ‘chaos’ in the markets by sharing his steam-of-consciousness and put him on blast for the holiday shutdown.
‘Instead of bringing certainty into people’s lives, he’s continuing the Trump Shutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts,’ Pelosi and Schumer wrote.
The president sent multiple messages that made it clear that he was watching network news from the residence of the White House, where he said that he was ‘all alone’ until his wife Melania returned from Palm Beach
‘Meanwhile, different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment.’
They claimed that by tacking to the right Trump had found himself in a hole he didn’t quite know how to climb out from.
‘The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it. As long as the president is guided by the House Freedom Caucus, it’s hard to see how he can come up with a solution that can pass both the House and Senate and end his Trump Shutdown,’ their joint statement read.
Their message to the president that he should stop waiting for their call came after he claimed the markets were crashing because the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again.
‘The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders,’ he tweeted. ‘The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!’
Trump claimed in another message that his border security request was being misunderstood.
‘The Wall is different than the 25 Billion Dollars in Border Security. The complete Wall will be built with the Shutdown money plus funds already in hand,’ he claimed. ‘The reporting has been inaccurate on the point. The problem is, without the Wall, much of the rest of Dollars are wasted!’
The National Christmas Tree that sits beside the White House went dark over the weekend, becoming a symbol of the partial government shutdown that’s expected to last until 2019
The president sent 10 tweets over a period of 6 hours that appeared to be in response to the media’s panning of the shutdown and his troop withdrawal in Syria.
‘We are substantially subsidizing the Militaries of many VERY rich countries all over the world, while at the same time these countries take total advantage of the U.S., and our TAXPAYERS, on Trade. General Mattis did not see this as a problem. I DO, and it is being fixed!’
Yesterday, as he fumed alone, the president said in a tweet that he had asked his defense secretary to leave by Jan. 1. General James Mattis had planned to stay through February, but Trump kicked him to the curb after he penned a searing resignation letter that outlined their differences on America’s standing in the world.
He claimed in tweets that he gave Mattis a second chance after Barack Obama fired the general that he maybe he shouldn’t have. Trump also claimed to have never met the administration’s diplomat in charge of the coalition against ISIS.
Brett McGurk also said he was leaving the administration immediately after Trump’s Syria withdrawal. McGurk had been humiliated by the president’s announcement, after saying on television the week prior that no one in the U.S. was claiming mission accomplished.
Most of Trump’s tweets since the shutdown were about the issue at hand, though — federal funding for his long-promised border wall. He is promoting a ‘steel slats’ fencing design that the White House thinks some Democrats will support.
Lawmakers went home for the Christmas holiday over the weekend, as the Senate adjourned until Dec. 27.
Trump harped that Senate Democrats working against his wall had favored fencing, until he called it a wall and ran for office, and they should be for one now.
‘Virtually every Democrat we are dealing with today strongly supported a Border Wall or Fence,’ he tweeted. ‘It was only when I made it an important part of my campaign, because people and drugs were pouring into our Country unchecked, that they turned against it. Desperately needed!’
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the government shut down could last into new year
President Trump has relaxed his request for $5 billion for a ‘physical barrier’ to a lesser number of approximately $1.6 billion or more
He is promoting a ‘steel slats’ fencing design that the White House thinks some Democrats will support. Existing legislation allows for ‘bollard fencing’ along the southern border
Trump is refusing to sign any continuing resolution to fund the government that does not allow him to build a border wall.
He rejected a bill Thursday that did not have the $5 billion for just the border barrier, leading to Friday night’s government shut down.
Schumer has not responded directly to his administration’s latest offer of $1.6 billion for steel slats without restrictions on where he can build the fencing.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had revealed the offer on Sunday morning.
‘We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday’ of the state of play.
He also warned the shut down could last well into the new year, when Congress changes hands and a new legislative session begins.
‘It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,’ Mulvaney said. ‘I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here the next couple of days,’ he added.
The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Visitors were turned away because of electrical problems due to the partial government shutdown
Litter spills out of a public dustbin next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Because of the shutdown, some 380,000 federal workers were furloughed
Another trash can is seen overflowing on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday morning