United States President Donald Trump is the first president to experience a shutdown of the federal government while his party controls both the House and the Senate. Despite this fact, President Trump is sure that the shutdown will result in victory for himself and the Republican party.
The President, speaking by way of video to a group of donors at a fundraiser he could not attend due to the shutdown, blamed the Democrats for the situation and assured the donors that the situation would result in “winning another victory.”
Whether Trump is accurate in this assessment or not is not yet clear but what is clear is that the President does not seem to be taking an active role in resolving the situation. In fact, he has not met with anyone at the White House since Friday.
This is a surprising turn of events to many for a president who was elected partially due to his perceived ability as a dealmaker honed by years of business experience. But instead of using these negotiation skills to help with ending the federal shutdown President Trump seems more than content to allow lawmakers and members of his staff haggle over the issues that need a solution.
Trump spoke with Senator John Cornyn and Representative Kevin McCarthy by phone and Sunday and while not offering any specific instruction President Trump implored the men to find a solution with the Democrats.
Trump also talked with David Shulkin, secretary of Veteran Affairs and Chief of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielson. Both of whom spent the day at the Ronald Reagan National Airport passing out bins at the security line. This was done to point out that many federal employees must continue to work despite the lapse in funding.
In private, some top aides to the President fear that inserting himself directly into the fray could backfire by adding an element of confusion to the process. A week ago, Trump Decided on his own to sit down with Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader. The conversation became a back and forth exchange that caused many to accuse the White House of not being clear on their negotiating positions.
White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly spoke with Schumer Friday to inform him that the deal offered by Schumer fell short of White House demands was accused of having a harder line on immigration policy than the President who Schumer felt was open to the ideas in his proposal.