Trump tries to rewrite the history of the government shutdown

From "I’m not going to blame you for it," to "it's really the Democrat shutdown," to "I accepted the first one."

President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a meeting with members of his cabinet (CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a meeting with members of his cabinet (CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that if there was another partial government shutdown this week, he would blame Democrats for it.

He also said he accepted blame for the most recent shutdown, which is not exactly right. In fact, he spent most of the seven weeks blaming Democrats.

“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 in December under a unified Republican government and lasted into late January because Trump demanded $5.7 billion to build a wall on the southern border.

On Tuesday, Trump attempted to draw a distinction between who was responsible for this most recent shutdown and who would be to blame for any future ones. “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.”

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 Senate Minority Leader 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.

Just before the shutdown, Trump told reporters, “It’s up to the Democrats. So it’s really the Democrat shutdown.” Then, once the shutdown began, Trump tweeted that the Democrats owned it.

At one point, Trump’s campaign sent out an email to supporters which entirely blamed Democratic congressional leaders: “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:

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.