Trump waiting for Democrats to make move on ending shutdown

A file photo of the Capitol mirrored in the Reflecting Pool in the District of Colombia, as the partial government shutdown headed into a second week | Photo by J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — President Donald Trump was firing Twitter barbs at Democrats this weekend as talks to end a weeklong partial government shutdown remained at a stalemate.

Trump was cooped up in the White House after canceling a vacation to his private Florida club.

As the disruption in federal services and public employees’ pay appeared set to continue into the new year, there were no signs of any substantive negotiation between the blame-trading parties.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that Trump is not reaching out to Democrats, rather he’s waiting for Democrats to reach out to him. “It is with them,” she told “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump is holding out for billions in federal funds for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which Democrats have said they were intent on blocking.

There has been little direct contact between the sides during the stalemate, and Trump did not ask Republicans, who hold a monopoly on power in Washington until Jan. 3, to keep Congress in session.

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he hoped to end the shutdown by offering Democrats incentives to get them to vote for wall funding.

“To my Democratic friends, there will never be a deal without wall funding,” Graham said Sunday on CNN.

Graham is proposing to help two groups of immigrants get approval to continue living in the U.S: about 700,000 young “Dreamer” immigrants brought illegally as children and about 400,000 people receiving temporary protected status because they are from countries struggling with natural disasters or armed conflicts. He also said the compromise should include changes in federal law to discourage people from trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

“Democrats have a chance here to work with me and others, including the president, to bring legal status to people who have very uncertain lives,” Graham said.

He said he would discuss the proposal with Trump over lunch Sunday at the White House, though it was unclear if the president or Democrats were open to such an approach. A previous deal that addressed the status of Dreamers failed to pass as a result of escalating White House demands.

As he called for Democrats to negotiate on the wall, Trump brushed off criticism that his administration bore any responsibility for the recent deaths of two migrant children in Border Patrol custody. Trump claimed the deaths were “strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally.”

His comments on Twitter came as his Homeland Security secretary met with medical professionals and ordered policy changes meant to better protect children detained at the border.

Trump earlier had upped the brinkmanship by threatening anew to close the border with Mexico to press Congress to cave to his demand for money to pay for a wall. Democrats are vowing to pass legislation restoring the government as soon as they take control of the House on Thursday, but that won’t accomplish anything unless Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate go along with it.

Talks have been at a stalemate for more than a week, after Democrats said the White House offered to accept $2.5 billion for border security. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Vice President Mike Pence that it wasn’t acceptable, nor was it guaranteed that Trump, under intense pressure from his conservative base to fulfill his signature campaign promise, would settle for that amount.

Conway claimed Sunday that “the president has already compromised” by dropping his request for the wall from $25 billion, and she called on Democrats to return to the negotiating table.

But Conway indicated that Trump has moved off his demand for a physical wall along parts of the border, as he promised during his 2016 campaign, saying discussion of a wall “is a silly semantic argument.”

“There may be a wall in some places, there may be steel slats, there may be technological enhancements,” Conway said. “But only saying ‘wall or no wall’ is being very disingenuous and turning a complete blind eye to what is a crisis at the border.”

Trump has remained out of the public eye since returning to the White House early Thursday from a 29-hour visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, instead taking to Twitter to attack Democrats. He also moved to defend himself from criticism that he couldn’t deliver on the wall while the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

“For those that naively ask why didn’t the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the last year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us “NONE” for Border Security!” he tweeted. “Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown.”

The shutdown is forcing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors to stay home or work without pay.

Written by ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press.

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • iceplant December 30, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    [Trump]* during the WH confrontation with Pelosi and Schumer:
    “I’ll be proud to shut down the government. I’ll own the shutdown.”

    [Trump]* now: “It’s all Democrats fault.”

    So which is it? You ridiculous unstable lying narcissist freakshow.

    * Ed. changes.

    • iceplant December 30, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      Really, mods? Censoring the name Dotard now?

      • Paul Dail December 30, 2018 at 6:10 pm

        Yes, we are. Is it so hard to use his name rather than a schoolyard equivalent version of calling someone a “retard”? I have as much problem with “Dotard” as I do “libtard.”

        Paul Dail
        Editor in chief

  • jh9000 December 30, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Why is he waiting for Democrats? Trump promised Mexico would pay for the wall. I’m glad the Dems aren’t budging and I hope they don’t.

    • KR567 December 31, 2018 at 7:56 am

      This is and will always be a never ending battle that will never be over

  • [email protected] December 30, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    First of all, it’s very hard for some of us to not give Trump an unbecoming nickname. But, I agree with you that some words are better unsaid.
    On the topic of the shutdown, two things I noted from this article. One is a comprehensive approach to immigration. This is something that has been needed for a couple decades at a minimum. I hope Senator Graham is really interested in this instead of pretending to care. Second, border security is not dependent on a physical wall. We have a wall in several place on our southern border which is breached time and time again. There are other more relevant ways to make security more realistic.
    Trump recently claimed in Iraq to our troops that they are fighting to ensure border walls are secure in the Middle East. There are few walls in the middle east so it was more lie by the most fake president we have had in my lifetime.
    He claimed he owned the shutdown right before it happened. I believe what you say should mean something. He apparently is so good at lying he doesn’t care about honesty or integrity.

    • tazzman December 31, 2018 at 10:57 am

      bsklarich, the POTUS was referencing one of the most effective walls ever, the one in Israel, separating that country from the West Bank. Terror attacks in Israel dropped precipitously after the wall was constructed.

      However, I agree with you a wall like that on our southern border is unnecessary. We need a disincentive for employers to hire, for one. That would come from e-verify and we need more border patrol agents, some additional areas of fencing, and some drones and electronic surveilled barriers triggered upon trespass. In exchange, we can deal with DACA and a migrant worker program that is transparent and open, and we can have a expanded refugee program that allows people in as long as they are fleeing life and death situations.

      • bikeandfish December 31, 2018 at 11:50 am

        I think that is a balanced approach to Immigration reform that should ideally receive bipartisan support. Even John Kelly said the wall is now a metaphor after talking with the government experts tasked with dealing with illegal immigration.

        • tazzman December 31, 2018 at 1:35 pm

          I didn’t even bring up the environmental factors bike and fish. A “wall” would disrupt wildlife migration in numerous places along and even inside our border. There are national parks and wildlife refuges where a wall would simply not be allowed and rightly so. Then you have the regulatory morass of private lands along the border requiring eminent domain and condemnation from the feds to construct a wall.

          I think what happened was during the GOP primaries Trump started using the rhetoric of his “The wall” and it gained traction and so he continued to run with it and ratcheted up the hyperbole of it, including Mexico paying for it, and it helped him win the GOP nomination. Now, he is stuck with his promise of a physical wall and the promise of another nation footing the bill. He simply overpromised and is underdelivering. For such a supposedly great salesman he committed a crucial error. He made a promise that he can’t deliver.
          But, the realities of a physical wall all along the border is simply ineffective in many places due to topography and rivers, etc. Plus, who is going to man thousands of miles of it? The Border Patrol is already stretched thin. And in no way do I want a military presence that mans it.

          • bikeandfish December 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm

            The ecological impact is massive and not discussed enough. The regulatory process alone would be a multiple year bureaucratic nightmare.

            I agree on the course of events leading up to this outcome. He just doesn’t know how to control his rhetoric and it puts him in an impossible bind against his own base.

            We need immigrration reform and a real national conversation about the long term cost/benefit analysis of regulating the southern border. One based on facts and one that deals in decades not just president to president oscillations.

    • Redbud December 31, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Bob, it’s very easy for me to NOT give Trump an unbecoming name, simply because he doesn’t deserve that. Trump is one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had. I am proud of him for standing his ground on border security. He is also your president whether you like it or not. Build That Wall! Trump 2020!

  • utahdiablo December 30, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    If Walls don’t work?…. then tear downs the walls around your Home,…No?….Yeah didn’t think so

  • Henry December 31, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Trump was backing off of the ridiculous demands that we spend billions on a wall, but changed his mind when Faux News called him out on it. He has repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall – something that he never could have promised. Now he is posturing, putting thousands of Americans out of work for an unknown amount of time – and even though at first he claimed full responsibility for the shutdown, he’s blaming it all on the Democrats. Trump has made no efforts to work with both parties, he can’t keep staff, he can’t even remember what he said yesterday (much less last week) and has denied the American Public the right of transparency by refusing to allow the press access to his administration. All the while, he’s removing protections for Americans such as removing the responsibility of Financial Advisors to act on behalf of their clients rather than to enrich themselves, removing protections for endangered species, allowing drilling in our beautiful wilderness areas, and undoing everything that the Obama Administration did. He’s a petulant child – but one who’s ruining our country while blaming everyone else. He can blame the shutdown on whomever he wants, but when it comes down to it, Trump is destroying our country and the Republican Party is complicit. He’s an international embarrassment.

    • tazzman December 31, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Henry: “…allowing drilling in our beautiful wilderness areas…”

      Henry, could you point out one officially designated wilderness area where drilling is now being allowed thanks to Trump? Name one. And no, ANWAR isn’t one. That is outside the wilderness boundaries.

    • Comment December 31, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      The neo-con R-party are still the same scum that collapsed the economy in ’08 so they could enrich the very worst of humanity. They simply have not changed in those 10 years. They’d do it again in a heartbeat because they simply have no principles. They are a corrupt party to their very core and simply have no desire to govern effectively. Trump is still a mixed bag as he’s not really an entrenched part of the R-scum party, but he’s certainly letting them slide thru a lot of their trademark corrupting deregulation policy strategy. I really don’t hold out much hope for trump accomplishing much at all to better this country at this point. The clown circus R-party are simply a failure when it comes to governing a nation.

      • tazzman December 31, 2018 at 3:23 pm

        The GOP has long demonstrated an incapacity to govern effectively. It’s as if they love acting as the minority party and suddenly don’t know what to do as a majority.

  • Travis December 31, 2018 at 6:53 am

    2 years and he couldn’t get it done with GOP control of the House and the Senate. He is no great negotiator! So glad he couldn’t spend Christmas and New Year’s in Florida!

  • AnnieMated December 31, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Let’s recap:
    REPUBLICANS control the HOUSE
    REPUBLICANS control the SENATE
    Oh YEA!…


    This is a reminder of who controls what right now for those who think the Democrats are to blame for this shutdown.

    • Redbud December 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Democrats are certainly to blame for the shut down, because they are unwilling to communicate or negotiate. Nancy Pelosi even went to Hawaii. If they were willing to negotiate with the president, this would have been over a long time ago. Drain the swamp!

      • bikeandfish December 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Not quite how it works. The majority controls bill passage in both branches of Congress. Its up to the majority to set the tone and find budgets that can pass, ie negotiate.

        And the American people aren’t falling for Trump’s attempt to shift blame after he blatantly said “So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”. This is the third Shutdown on his watch. Ironic given he said the following things about budgets and shutdowns during Obama’s tenure:

        “You have to get everybody in a room. You have to be a leader. The president has to lead. He has to get (the Speaker of the House) and everybody else in a room, and they have to make a deal. You have to be nice and be angry and be wild and cajole and do all sorts of things, but you have to get a deal.”

        “If you say who gets fired, it always has to be the top. Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the president’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead…..when they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time. They’re not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head the Senate, who’s running things in Washington. So I really think the pressure is on the president.”

        But my favorite is this retweet that doesn’t age well at all:

        “”@realDonaldTrump if you were in office this would of never happen #trump2016″ True!”

        Come Jan 3rd when Democrats take over the majority in the House than they will own that branches failures when it comes to the federal budget showdown. And its looking like its likely to last that long.

        For now though, by his own standards and words, this shutdown is Trump’s. He can’t escape that no matter how hard he tries.

        • Redbud December 31, 2018 at 7:38 pm

          Ok, even if it’s Trump’s fault, doesn’t matter. I don’t care who’s fault it is. He is doing the right thing for America with the shut down. It needed to happen and I am proud of Trump for doing so! Build the wall! Democrats are doing what they do best, pointing fingers without offering real solutions.

          • AnnieMated January 1, 2019 at 1:51 am

            Yep. He’s doing the ‘right’ thing by making sure THOUSANDS of hard working Americans have to survive on no paycheck for days and weeks on end. #sarcasm

          • bikeandfish January 1, 2019 at 2:03 pm

            I’m sorry but Trump isn’t exactly doing much more than pointing fingers either. He built his entire campaign on that technique. And he does it with no consistency. You must recognize the irony in your statements, correct?

            The irony is profound given Democrats have a plan and bill but Trump doesn’t want to sign it. He has that perogative as POTUS but by no means does his threatened veto mean Democrats are not interested in a solution. Remember, we had an agreement for a CR until Trump suddenly changed course.

            This is how the minority flexes it’s limited power. Its a fact both parties deride when they have control. Instead of buying into the classic narrative you would be wise to study that reality as its not difficult to see (attempt at repeal without replacement of ACA by RNC and now Trump for example).

            Government is highly disfunctional right now but its coming from all sides and your man Trump is a huge part of that equation.

            Almost a million federal workers are being harmed by this Shutdown without backpay being guaranteed. Thousands to tens of thousands of private contractors are out of work now as well and will not get back pay. Real work of government is piling up without personnel to deal with it. And at the end of the day this will cost us more money than just running the government as its designed. Shutdowns are not a functional solution for anyone or any goal as history clearly shows.

    • Redbud January 1, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Annie, I understand that people are going without paychecks. However painful it may be, it must happen. We will look back on this difficult time as a blessing to all US citizens who wish to have stronger border security. The swamp will continue to be drained, and Trump will reign as our supreme leader!

      • Comment January 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm

        supreme leader? I don’t know about you, bud. At first I believed you when you said you weren’t a troll, and I’d like to believe you. But you certainly don’t make it easy.

        • bikeandfish January 1, 2019 at 6:26 pm

          Yeah, that’s not something an average person states in a democracy without a wicked sense of irony.

          • Redbud January 1, 2019 at 10:59 pm

            As a citizen of this country, I support the president, and I support the shutdown. I don’t care who’s fault it is, he shut it down for an important reason. If Hillary was in charge of the country right now, we would have an absolute disaster on our hands. I thank the Lord daily that Trump is our president. Our borders must be secured, and Trump will do his best to do that, despite his opposition who just wants to let anyone into our country.

          • AnnieMated January 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm

            Hey Paul,

            Why do you allow an anti-american thug like Redbud to post his crap here?

          • Paul Dail January 3, 2019 at 9:13 am

            Annie, thank you for your question. I won’t comment as to whether I believe Redbud is “anti-American,” but let’s say just for the sake of argument that he is (and for the sake of my response, I will at least presume Redbud is a male). Are you really asking me as the editor in chief of a media outlet in the United States why I would allow him to voice him opinions on how he believes the country is being managed or mismanaged? As long as he isn’t using outright hate speech, childish name-calling or simple baiting of other commenters or straying too far from the topic of the article (and this is a grey area that is often harder to define), he is welcome – as are you – to express his hate or love for our country and disdain for those who are working opposite of his beliefs.

            He is also welcome – as are you – to engage with other commenters with whom he ardently disagrees, even if it’s likely that no minds will be changed at the end of the day. On a personal note, I think it would be nice if we could all find some common ground, but every day I see people so passionately locked into their sides that I think it gets harder and harder to do so. So it is up to our readers to decide what level of energy they wish to expend trying to convince that other side.

            Paul Dail
            Editor in chief

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