Democrats don’t want to fund the border wall because they don’t want to give the president a “win,” President Trump tweeted Thursday morning, as the government shutdown dragged into its 20th day.
“The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give ‘Trump’ another one of many wins,” he wrote.
There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate, despite the Fake News Media working in overdrive to make the story look otherwise. The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give “Trump” another one of many wins!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2019
The comments appear to clash with the president’s urgent messaging Tuesday night, during which he claimed in a live address to the nation that he wanted a border wall to fix an urgent “crisis” at the border and that Democrats needed to agree to fund it as a matter of national security.
During the address, Trump used a number of misleading or false talking points to argue that the wall, along with a series of other enhanced border security practices and technology, would stem the flow of drugs into the country, prevent dangerous criminals from entering the United States, and stop immigrants from taking jobs from Americans.
“This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul,” he said at the time. “[…] This situation could be solved in a 45 minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”
Trump, however, appears unbothered by the “crisis” he lamented Tuesday night. Despite traveling to the border Thursday to try and persuade the public of the need for the wall, he reportedly told a group of television anchors earlier in the week that the visit wouldn’t “change a damn thing.” And on Wednesday, he stormed out of a meeting with congressional leaders after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not approve his funding demands for “Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier.”
“I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
Trump’s refusal to budge on the wall has already had devastating effects for both federal workers and everyday people across the country. As The New York Times reported Wednesday, the FDA has stopped routine food inspections of seafood, fruits, and vegetables, and many people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed their families could be looking at a cut in benefits if the shutdown continues into next month.
As NBC noted, SNAP costs an average of around $4.8 billion per month, but the program has only $3 billion in emergency reserves for February. More than 19 million families rely on the program. Small businesses that accept SNAP will also take a major hit, should funding for the program run out.
In Maryland’s Prince George’s County, one school board member is calling for free lunch for all students in the county while the government is shut down, since many families in the area work for the government and are currently going without pay.
Earlier this week, Trump, who was a millionaire by age 8, was asked if he can relate to the pain of the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who are unable to pay their bills.
“I can relate, and I’m sure that the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do. They’ll make adjustments,” he said as he prepared to depart for Camp David ahead of a strategy session on the shutdown.
He added, “People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
Pelosi pushed back on those comments Wednesday, following a meeting with the president. “Many federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks, and what that means in their lives is tragic … the president seems to be insensitive to that,” she said. “He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money. But they can’t.”