In the days since a government shutdown, President Trump has been eager to find someone to share the blame for federal employees out of work. However, in a well-publicized showdown between the president and Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, Trump claimed that he would completely own shutdown-related consequences.
Without the option to blame Democrats for a shutdown that he instigated over funding for his proposed border wall, he instead opted to claim federal workers were on his side. According to a report from Time Magazine:
President Donald Trump asserted that “many” of those impacted by the partial government shutdown support it if it leads to the controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall he’s promised to his base for years.
President Trump likely did not anticipate actually hearing from those involved. J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents over 700,000 federal workers, says that federal workers do not at all favor shutdowns.
“There should be no confusion about whether federal employees want the government to reopen,” Cox Sr. said in a statement. “They are eager to get back to work. They unequivocally oppose using shutdowns as a means of resolving policy disputes. This is not about a wall, this is about 800,000 real people with real families and real bills to pay.”
However, to the president, it is about the wall, not the federal workers with bills to pay. There is no doubt that his promise for a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border was the lynchpin of his campaign. But after two years with no results, his base may become restless and make manifest already brewing fears about the viability of his candidacy in 2020. Furthermore, the president has crafted a persona wholly divorced from politics, making it easier to distrust intelligence agencies, reject their findings, or impugn their investigations.
The White House is scrambling to resolve the shutdown issue, and has already floated a price at $2.1 billion, less than half of the $5 billion estimate for border wall funding. It’s unlikely that the number will ever be low enough for Democrats. The longer the White House draws this out, the longer federal workers will have to wait.
Feature image provided via Youtube screenshot