Donald Trump doubled down on his US-Mexico border wall demands in a pair of tweets he posted Sunday night.
The federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown due, in part, to Congress refusing Trump’s demand for billions of dollars which would be used to fund his border wall. The stalemate over the wall led parts of the government to shut down Saturday after funding for numerous departments and agencies expired.
Despite this, Trump tweeted Sunday night that ‘Mitch McConnell just told a group of people, and me, that he has been in the U.S. Senate for 32 years and the last two have been by far the best & most productive of his career. Tax & Regulation Cuts, VA Choice, Farm Bill, Criminal Justice Reform, Judgeships & much more. Great!’
Donald Trump doubled down on his border wall demands in a tweet Sunday night and claimed Mitch McConnell said the last two years were the most productive in his Senate career
Trump posted these two tweets on Sunday night while at the White House for the holidays
About 15 minutes later, Trump tweeted, ‘The most important way to stop gangs, drugs, human trafficking and massive crime is at our Southern Border. We need Border Security, and as EVERYONE knows, you can’t have Border Security without a Wall. The Drones & Technology are just bells and whistles. Safety for America!’
The tweets come on the heels of news from Trump’s newly-appointed White House chief of staff — and budget director — Mick Mulvaney stating that he’s waiting to hear from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York about a counteroffer the White House presented Schumer over the weekend.
Mulvaney would only say the offer was between Trump’s $5.7billion request and $1.3billion Democrats have offered.
‘We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3,’ Mulvaney said less than a day after a senior administration official insisted that Congress would have to cave into Trump’s demand for the shutdown to end, highlighting Trump’s unpredictable negotiating style.
Schumer’s office said the parties remained ‘very far apart.’
It’s unclear when exactly McConnell (pictured December 22) spoke with Trump, however
Trump’s new White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said he is waiting to hear back about a counteroffer from the Democrats, which is said to be between $5.7billion and $1.3billion
Democrats had said they were open to proposals that don’t include a wall, which Schumer said is costly and ineffective. They have offered to keep spending at existing levels of $1.3 billion for border fencing and other security.
Earlier Sunday, Democrats continued to hold firm in opposition to a wall, which Trump promised his political base he would build. Mulvaney said ‘the president’s not going to not accept money for a border wall.’
Democrats aren’t the only ones resisting Trump on the wall, however.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who is leaving Congress in January and has criticized Trump on other issues in the past, called the border-wall fight a ‘made-up fight so the president can look like he’s fighting.’
‘This is something that is unnecessary. It’s a spectacle. And, candidly, it’s juvenile. The whole thing is juvenile,’ Corker said, arguing for measures that he said would secure the border better than a wall.
Trump had savored the prospect of a shutdown over the wall, saying he’d be ‘proud’ to force one over an issue that was one of his biggest campaign promises. He had said he wouldn’t blame Democrats for a shutdown but now blames them for not contributing to the 60 votes needed for such legislation to clear the closely divided Senate.
The closure affects hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the country and was expected to last at least through Thursday, when the House and Senate meet again.
Monday and Tuesday, Christmas Eve and Christmas, respectively, are federal holidays, meaning the government would have been closed anyway. That means Wednesday is the first day the public could begin to feel the effects of lost government services, Mulvaney said.
He predicted the shutdown could go into January, when Democrats assume control of the House based on their midterm election gains.
‘It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,’ Mulvaney said.
Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer, countered: ‘If Director Mulvaney says the Trump Shutdown will last into the New Year, believe him, because it’s their shutdown.’ Trump recently declared he’d be ‘proud’ to shut down the government over border issues.
About 800,000 federal employees are expected to be impacted by the partial government shutdown.
More than half of those employees are deemed essential, such as U.S. Secret Service agents and Transportation Security Administration airport agents, and must work without pay, though retroactive pay is expected.
Another 380,000 were to be furloughed, meaning they will not report to work but would be paid later. Legislation ensuring that workers receive back pay was expected to clear Congress.