On day eight of the government shutdown, with no end in sight, Republicans have shifted from blaming Democrats in general to accusing incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of prolonging the closure, even though Trump said just a few weeks ago that he would “own” the shutdown.
During a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office on December 11th, Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government over border security… I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
But now Trump and his surrogates are changing tactics. The president tweeted on Saturday morning that Democrats are focused on “Presidential Harassment” and not “stopping crime and our military.”
I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security. From what I hear, they are spending so much time on Presidential Harassment that they have little time left for things like stopping crime and our military!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018
And incoming White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney appeared in an interview Friday to say that while Schumer has been open to negotiations, “It’s Nancy Pelosi preventing that from happening.”
Mulvaney went on to say that Pelosi is waiting until she locks in the speakership to negotiate. “So we fully expect that until she is elected speaker and has locked that vote up, we don’t expect to hear from the Democrats again,” Mulvaney continued. “They told us last night that they were not countering our last offer.”
And Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted a message to Pelosi and the Democrats, signaling he would not vote for a deal that does not include money to fund Trump’s border wall.
To Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats:
No Wall Money, No Deal.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 28, 2018
Although, Graham is singing a different tune than he did a mere three years ago, as NBC News political reporter Benjy Sarlin pointed out on Twitter.
"The wall Donald Trump is building is between us and Hispanics"
-Lindsey Graham, 9/2/15
“I’ve hit a wall here"
-Lindsey Graham announcing end of campaign, 12/21/15.
"No Wall Money, No Deal."
-Lindsey Graham, 12/28/18
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) December 28, 2018
But Democrats, meanwhile, plan to spread the narrative that Trump is to blame. After all, the shutdown began while he and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.
“We want … the government open, and my hope is we can get it opened before Jan. 3,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the incoming Rules Committee chairman, told Politico. “If not, one of the first things we’ll do will be to move to pass legislation to reopen the government. And the president can decide whether he wants to sign it or not.”
McGovern tried, on Thursday, to introduce a bill to reopen the government during a pro forma session, but Republicans refused to recognize him. “Mr. Speaker, 800,000 federal employees don’t know whether they will get paid! Mr. Speaker!” McGovern said on the House floor.
House Democrats are considering one strategy that may temporarily reopen the government until February 8th. Since the Senate already passed a continuing resolution to do so, they feel that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would push that measure through. Other options include passing appropriations for all parts of the government except Homeland Security, which is where the wall funding would come from, or adopting a continuing resolution to fund agencies through the end of the fiscal year.