On Tuesday, President Trump doubled down on his unwillingness to compromise over funding for the border wall, leaving thousands of federal workers on the losing end, forced to work without pay, NPR reports.
“I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open,” the president said in a Christmas Day video conference with representatives of all five military branches stationed in Alaska, Bahrain, Guam and Qatar, the outlet reports.
“I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they’d like to call it,” Trump said. “I’ll call it whatever they want, but it’s all the same thing.”
But the president still apparently had the holiday spirit.
“It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “But other than that, I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas.”
The federal government shut down early Saturday after congressional and White House officials failed to reach a compromise on a spending bill for Trump’s wall.
It is the third shutdown in two years under unified Republican majority in D.C., and it will affect hundreds of thousands of government employees, including at nine federal departments, according to the New York Times.
I’ve been a federal employee and know the impact a shutdown has on families. Right now ~750,000 federal employees are heading into the holidays without paychecks. No elected official should ever be “proud to shut down the government” at the expense of hardworking public servants.
— Mikie Sherrill (@MikieSherrill) December 22, 2018
“President Trump has thrown a temper tantrum and now has us careening towards a ‘Trump shutdown’ over Christmas,” Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Friday.
In a joint statement, Schumer and House Speaker-designate Rep. Nancy Pelosi slammed the “destructive Trump Shutdown” that was triggered by the president’s demand for border wall money.
“Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House,” they said. “But instead of honoring his responsibility to the American people, President Trump threw a temper tantrum and convinced House Republicans to push our nation into a destructive Trump Shutdown in the middle of the holiday season. President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted.”
Trump has been acting anything but presidential and has been sending a series of angry tweets about the shutdown and blames Democrats for the stalemate.
I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
“The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it,” the Democratic leaders added.