Politics

Trump Lashes Out On GOP Leadership As Shutdown Looms

AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump lashed out at Republican congressional leaders in a Thursday morning tweet as the deadline for avoiding a government shutdown looms.

Trump blamed Republicans (“we”) in his tweet for “foolishly” focusing on border security for other countries rather than focusing on our own.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also issued a Thursday statement saying, “The president is having a meeting with Republican House Members at noon today. At this moment, the president does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall. The president is continuing to weigh his options.”

Men from Mexico climb the US-Mexico border wall in Playas de Tijuana, northwestern Mexico, November 18, 2018. – The Central American migrant caravan trekking toward the United States converged on the US-Mexican border Thursday after more than a month on the road, undeterred by President Donald Trump’s deployment of thousands of American troops near the border. (Photo by Guillermo Arias / AFP)

Trump’s tweet is the latest in a head-spinning saga of shutdown politics with a central fight for funding his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border. The president referenced the Omnibus bill he signed in March 2018, which significantly increased the federal deficit and included no funding for the border wall.

Trump originally pledged to shut the government down during a fiery Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The president went so far as to declare he would be “proud” to do the shutdown and that it would be politically beneficial to him. (Related: Is Trump Blowing His Last Chance To Get The Wall?)

This posture changed significantly, however, when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders broke from this hardline position Tuesday.

As she related to Fox News, “There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use — that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations — that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border.”

A U.S. Border Patrol agent keeps watch at the Hugs Not Walls event on the U.S.-Mexico border on October 13, 2018 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. More than 200 families with mixed immigration status living in the U.S. were allowed to reunify with relatives in Mexico for three minutes after Border Patrol briefly opened the border wall to allow the reunions. The event is approved by the U.S. government as families keep their feet on their respective sides of the border. The event is normally held in downtown El Paso but was moved to New Mexico due to new construction of an 18-foot border wall in El Paso. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Sanders’ statement, along with multiple other indications from the White House, pushed congressional leaders to support a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the government until February. The result of the continuing resolution would punt the eventual fight over to the next session of Congress when Pelosi is expected to take her helm of the speakership.

Trump’s tweet has thrown the process into chaos with the House Republican leadership canceling a press conference where they were anticipated to announce support for the continuing resolution.

Trump’s conservative allies in the House Freedom Caucus have strongly urged him to veto any continuing resolution saying “Mr. President, we’re going to back you up. If you veto this bill we’ll be there. But more importantly, the American people will be there. They’ll be there to support you. Let’s build the wall and make sure that we do our job in Congress.”