After finally striking a deal with Congress to reopen the government after the longest shutdown in U.S. history, President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday evening that he is ready for another shutdown over funding for his border wall.
Just hours after his speech on Friday announcing a three-week spending deal, Trump tweeted that his move was contigent on an “understanding that in 21 days if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”
I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2019
During the record-breaking shutdown, the president’s approval rating took a hit and an increasing number of Americans pinned the blame on him. Nonetheless, Trump appears to be prepared to start the shutdown fight all over again if Republicans and Democrats don’t reach an agreement on border wall funding in early February.
Although Trump’s tweet claims the deal was “in no way a concession,” the president did not win a single thing during the shutdown battle. Trump ended the shutdown without anything to offer his supporters after campaigning on the promise of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and putting federal workers through serious financial strain.
Trump agreed to reopen the federal government without any of the additional funding for the wall that he asked for, essentially agreeing to the same deal that Congress passed in late December that he vetoed. The House and Senate then passed a stopgap spending bill to fund the government until February 15.
Although some might take this as another sign that the president isn’t the powerful dealmaker he claims to be, his supporters in the media insisted he is just playing a very advanced game that no one else understands.
Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump aide with ties to a Hungarian Nazi party, called Trump’s decision a “master stroke.”
“This is a standoff that has been extended for three weeks. The government will shut down again, but the president — ignore what Nancy said today because that’s just garbage, the president gets his State of the Union address,” Gorka said.
Fox’s Sean Hannity, who has an undoubtedly close relationship with the president, claimed Trump’s cave on wall funding means he actually holds the negotiating power. “Anyone out there, by the way, thinking President Trump caved today, you don’t really know the Donald Trump I know. He, right now, holds all the cards,” Hannity said.
When a caller pointed out on Sean Hannity’s program that Trump’s decision to end to the shutdown without securing wall funding didn’t make him look like “the negotiator,” as he claimed to be in his bestselling book The Art of The Deal, Hannity brushed aside the criticism — saying that Trump is “driving the whole train” and “decided what the compromise is going to be.”
“He’s the one that then will make the decision alone on February 15. And he will decide either to shut the government down or go the national emergency route,” Hannity said.
“It seems like he’s in total control to me. And he also seems reasonable. Seems like he’s trying to make a difference, get what he wants, and make a deal with people that have been unwilling to even sit down.”
Even though the president has insisted he hasn’t lost on wall funding yet, and that the fight isn’t over, he has already shifted his language on the wall. During his address on Friday announcing the deal to reopen the government, Trump referenced “smart walls” that use drones and other capabilities instead of physical barriers and said “we do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea — we never did.”