‘That’s a negotiation that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction…’
(AFP) After failing to resolve a budget battle to the satisfaction of President Donald Trump, lawmakers headed home for Christmas leaving the government partially shut.
However, Trump canceled his holiday vacation to Florida, making clear that he was in the fight for the long haul, flanked by his soon-to-be chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who currently serves as the White House budget director.
Mulvaney said the impasse spurred by Senate Democrats’ refusal to include $5 billion to fund a border wall—one of the president’s signature campaign promises—may continue until a new Congress takes over in January.
“The Democrats offered us $1.6 billion a couple weeks ago, then they offered the president $1.3 billion this week” for border security, said Mulvaney, speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”
“That’s a negotiation that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.”
Meanwhile, Trump critics on the Sunday talk-show circuit tried to make hay of the situation by taking potshots and pointing fingers at the president.
“It really is in the president’s hands to decide. He says it’s an issue of border security. I think we know better. It’s an issue of his own political insecurity,” Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“When the right wingers start screaming at him he just backs off and dissembles in front of us. We now have reached a depth of dysfunction that I’ve never seen in Washington.”
Mulvaney countered that Democrats had become too accustomed to having opponents roll over and acquiesce in funding battles—something Trump had no intention of doing.
“This is what Washington looks like when you have a president who refuses to sort of go along to get along,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Even some of Trump’s opponents within his own party chimed in to blame the president.
“The Democrats easily would support more border funding, border security. They’ve said that” if a broader deal could be reached, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said on CNN.
“This is something that is unnecessary. It’s a spectacle and, candidly, it’s juvenile,” said Corker, speaking in his final days before stepping down from Congress.
“This is a made-up fight so that the president can look like he’s fighting.”
Trump answered Corker on Twitter, explaining that the lame-duck NeverTrumper was trying to settle a personal score.
Senator Bob Corker just stated that, “I’m so priviledged to serve in the Senate for twelve years, and that’s what I told the people of our state that’s what I’d do, serve for two terms.” But that is Not True – wanted to run but poll numbers TANKED when I wouldn’t endorse him…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
With Democrats assuming control of the House on Jan. 3, the gridlock is likely to continue indefinitely.
However, Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan may signal a plan B to fund the wall using the already approved Defense Department budget—something both the president and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have hinted at.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.