Former President Trump on Sunday urged Republicans to dig in as a shutdown looms over Washington, arguing that President Biden will take the blame if the federal government closes.
Congress faces an Oct. 1 deadline for passing a government-funding bill, and the impasse has been in the House, where Republicans have not been able to agree amongst themselves over a strategy to keep the government from closing, or over how to fund it.
Republicans in similar shutdowns have ended up taking the public relations hit in polls when the government has closed after battles between GOP Speakers and their rank-and-file memberships, but Trump insisted that this time it would be Biden who would be blamed.
“The Republicans lost big on Debt Ceiling, got NOTHING, and now are worried that they will be blamed for the Budget Shutdown,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post. “Wrong!!! Whoever is President will be blamed, in this case, Crooked (as Hell!) Joe Biden! ur Country is being systematically destroyed by the Radical Left Marxists, Fascists and Thugs – THE DEMOCRATS.”
Trump urged GOP members to dig in to their demands, arguing that unless they “get everything,” lawmakers should “shut it down.”
“Close the Border, stop the Weaponization of “Justice,” and End Election Interference – WE MUST HAVE HONEST ELECTIONS. It’s time Republicans learned how to fight!” Trump continued.
Lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year to raise the debt ceiling. As part of that deal, that agreed to set ceilings on spending for the next fiscal year, but House conservatives have argued that deeper cuts should be made to spending.
In a sign of the difficulties faced by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the House, plans to vote on an initial stopgap spending measure were pulled from the schedule last week amid GOP opposition.
Conservatives also twice blocked a rule to debate legislation to fund the Pentagon.
In a concession to hard-liner Republicans who are asking for funding cuts and certain policy measures, GOP leaders will work this week to pass four of their 12 full-year government funding bills. GOP leaders are hoping this will lead conservatives to back a stopgap measure before the Oct. 1 deadline, but it’s unclear whether this will work.
Trump’s post echoes calls he made to Republicans last week to use the looming deadline as an opportunity to withhold funds from the Justice Department (DOJ).
Biden’s reelection campaign called out Trump for these comments, arguing the former president is “rooting” for a government shutdown” and does not care about its impact on families.
The former president also took a swipe at Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) in Sunday’s post, calling him the “weakest, most conflicted ‘leader’” in the history of the Senate.
“HE’S ALREADY GIVEN THE DEMOCRATS EVERYTHING, THEY CAN’T BELIEVE HOW LUCKY THEY GOT. WE NEED NEW, & REAL, REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, NOT A CLONE OF MITCH, & WE NEED IT NOW!!!” Trump said on social media.
McConnell, who has dealt with the fallout of government shutdowns in 1995-96, 2013 and 2018-19, warned Republican lawmakers last week that shutdowns are a “loser for Republicans, politically.”
Trump was president for three of these shutdowns, including the most recent shutdown that lasted for 35 days from December 2018 to January 2019.
The shutdown marked the longest period in U.S. history after Democrat lawmakers strongly opposed the former president’s demands for funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The shutdown ended after Trump agreed to sign a short-term funding bill to reopen the government.
Trump was also commander in chief for a hours-long shutdown in 2018 and a separate three-day shutdown in the same year.
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