The federal government, as of Sunday morning, remains closed, with no real apparent talks underway to reopen it.
On Saturday evening, The New York Times, citing a White House aide, said that President Donald Trump spent the day frustrated and angry, watching videos of himself in 2013 attacking President Obama’s leadership during the shutdown that happened that year:
On Saturday, the president was left alternately defiant and angry, self-pitying and frustrated. He argued to aides that he did not deserve the blame he was taking, but without a credible deal on the table, there was little for him to do. Irritated to have missed his big event in Florida, Mr. Trump spent much of his day watching old TV clips of him berating President Barack Obama for a lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown, a White House aide said, seeming content to sit back and watch the show.
Senate Democrats have laid a credible deal on the table, to fund the government in a bipartisan manner and providing a legislative solution to young people starkly affected by Trump’s decision last September to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, the White House has refused to even talk to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who said that the White House had “not called” him that day. Neither Trump nor White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have called Schumer as of Sunday morning.
Problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top and the president’s the leader and he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that. In 25 years and 50 years and 100 years from now, when the government — they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States. Who was the president at that time? They’re not going to be talking who the head of the House was, the head of the Senate.
He told Greta Van Susteren the same thing:
#TBT to when Trump lectured President Obama about how to negotiate a deal to prevent a government shutdown, saying “the president has to lead.” “You have to get everybody in a room” to get a deal because it’s “good for the country.” pic.twitter.com/sdtcWRrWzz
— DNC Press (@dncpress) January 18, 2018
Yet in a Sunday morning tweet, Trump continued to flail about with no real solutions for the shutdown, contending that Republicans are fighting for the military, and proposing that the Senate pass a full budget by throwing out the rules and adopting the so-called “nuclear option”:
Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2018
He continued to blame the Democrats for the shutdown. Yet on Friday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) needed 60 votes to pass a continuing resolution and keep the government open. He lost four of his Republican colleagues in that last vote, meaning he didn’t even have a simple majority to avert the shutdown. So the Senate attempting “the nuclear option” would not even solve the problem.
Trump again attempted to pit the military against the Democrats, but Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a disabled veteran, was having none of it on Saturday evening. “I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger,” she said.
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 21, 2018
And Trump’s implication that Republicans are the ones working hard to solve the budget stalemate is even more problematic given the moves the White House made during the first 36 hours of the shutdown.
What Trump did on Saturday was release a campaign ad that said Democrats who oppose his demand for a border wall “will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”
The blame game extends to the most direct way the White House has to speak with the American people: Calling an official White House phone number yields a message that says the call cannot be answered because “congressional Democrats are holding government funding hostage.”
If you call the White House comment line this is the message you'll hear:
"Thank you for calling the White House. Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding…hostage"https://t.co/M1aDPGJvwE
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 21, 2018
And the White House released what appeared to be obviously staged photo-ops of the president on the phone and laughing with White House staff. What we’re not seeing are photos of him in a room with everyone, trying to nail down a deal.
President Trump hard at work today to end the Democrat shutdown, reopen our government, and fund our great military pic.twitter.com/GzUi3tAPGw
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 21, 2018
White House very pleased with itself for doing work pic.twitter.com/u7RODQ9faf
— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) January 20, 2018
In fact, it seems that Trump sees the shutdown as a positive thing for his administration. He called it a “nice present” from Democrats on Twitter Saturday morning. And on Saturday evening, Eric Trump, who is ostensibly focused on running the Trump business and not being a White House surrogate, told Fox News, “Honestly, I think it’s a good thing for us.”