President Trump has flip-flopped several times in the course of just a week on the shutdown he’s caused. First, Trump said he’d be “proud” to shut down the federal government if a spending deal doesn’t include $5 billion for a wall he said Mexico would pay for. Then on Friday, when a shutdown looked inevitable with no budget deal reached, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats now own the shutdown!”
It’s no wonder the president is distancing himself from the partial shutdown, as more than 400,000 federal workers will be forced to work without pay until the government reopens. Indeed, a government shutdown is so damaging Trump once said the president should be fired over it. Of course, Trump said it was fireable offense when he wasn’t the president in office.
In a 2013 interview with Fox & Friends, Trump said the president should be fired if there’s to be a government shutdown, as the responsibility for such a failure “always has to be the top.” In Sept. 2013, for the first time in nearly two decades, a shutdown happened, and it was because the GOP-controlled House wanted to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
But Trump didn’t get into the specifics of why the federal government actually shut down. He just said President Obama didn’t get “everyone in a room and lead.” Here’s the full interview:
Fox reporter: Who’s getting fired? Who’s going to bear the brunt of the responsibility if indeed there is a shutdown of our government?
Trump: Well if you say ‘who gets fired’, it always has to be the top. I mean, problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top. And the president’s the leader and he has to get everyone in a room and lead and he doesn’t do that. He doesn’t like doing that — that is not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Washington too. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s also embarrassing worldwide.
Trump has shown he’s unable to get “everyone in a room and lead.” The White House held a meeting with lawmakers on Saturday, but only Republicans attended. Democrats, meanwhile, continue to reject Trump’s demand to allocate $5.7 billion for a southwest border wall because it’s costly and ineffective. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pointed out on Twitter that the money can be used for teacher pay, green jobs, and replacing water pipes.