In a pretty awe-inspiring Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, President Donald Trump promised that if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall, he will proudly shut down the government.
Sitting next to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump said, “If we don’t get what we want … I will shut down the government.” He added later, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”
Here’s a clip of that exchange:
Trump gives the Democrats the best soundbite they could possibly hope for: "Yes, if we don't get what we want…I will shut down the government. … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it." pic.twitter.com/e4xbjlMvwj
— David Mack (@davidmackau) December 11, 2018
The government is nearing a shut down — if lawmakers are unable to reach a deal by December 21, the federal government will shutter, meaning that National Parks and most other federally operated bodies will be out of service.
Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, but Democrats have no intention of pumping that much federal money into one of the president’s campaign promises. Unfortunately for Trump, he needs Democrats if he’s going to make a deal.
The body language of those in the room was also very telling — beside Trump, Vice President Mike Pence sat cold, looking very uncomfortable but not betraying any emotion. As Trump promised that he would shut down the government, Chuck Schumer grinned. Trump saying that he would “proudly” close the government over his funding wall was the perfect soundbite for Democrats eager to paint the president as obsessed with his own interests.
In their statement, the White House called the meeting “constructive” and said that “President Trump made clear that any government funding measure must include responsible border security, including a wall, to protect the American people.”
At one point in the meeting, Pelosi told the president, “I don’t think we should have a debate in front of the press on this.” But Trump responded that “We’re doing this in a very friendly manner.” Later, Pelosi was even more blunt, saying, “Let’s call a halt to this.”