As President Donald Trump’s shutdown of much of the federal government is on the cusp of its third week, he claimed on Thursday that he has never had more support. But with every congressional Democrat against his decision to hold the workings of government hostage to his demand for billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars for a border wall that he’d promised would be fully funded by Mexico, and now 10 congressional Republicans standing up to him as well, he may never had had so little.
“I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security, for border control, and for frankly, the wall or the barrier,” Trump announced in an unusual appearance in the White House briefing room on Thursday, before leaving without taking any questions from the press.
Hours earlier, the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives had been sworn in for the 116th Congress — the first time in the nation’s history that Congress had convened with the government shutdown.
But that alleged support is not evident, even from some in his own party.
First, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) told The Hill on Thursday that he wants to reopen the government immediately, even without funding Trump’s wall. “I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said.
The GOP-controlled Senate unanimously passed a bill to avert the shutdown last month, but it died when Trump decided to oppose the bipartisan deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated he will not allow a vote on any deal that does not have Trump’s support.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) soon joined Gardner, urging that government funding not be preempted by the fight over whether American’s should pay for Trump’s wall. “I see no reason why the bills that are ready to go and on which we’ve achieved an agreement should be held hostage to this debate over border security,” she said.
Then, on Thursday evening, the new Democratic-controlled House passed two bills to end the shutdown — one funding the Department of Homeland Security for one month and the other funding all of the other closed agencies for the rest of the year. In addition to every Democrat present, the bills garnered support from eight House Republicans. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) voted for the Homeland Security extension. Reps. Peter King (R-NY), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Greg Walden (R-OR) voted to reopen all of the other agencies. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Will Hurd (R-TX), John Katko (R-NY), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) voted for both bills.
Stefanik explained her votes in a Facebook post, writing, “I oppose government shutdowns and in Congress have consistently voted to keep the government open. I will continue working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure that the government is fully funded, and our border is secure.”
In addition to lawmakers from his own party starting to abandon him on the shutdown he proclaimed he’d proudly own, the American public disapproves of Trump’s performance by a 53.4 percent to 41.4 percent margin. According to multiple polls, most Americans disapprove of his handling of the shutdown.