The Slatest

Trump Sees No Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Calls for “Nuclear Option” to End Shutdown

President Donald Trump stands in the colonnade as he is introduced to speak to March for Life participants and pro-life leaders in the Rose Garden at the White House on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. The annual march takes place around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court decision that came on January 22, 1974.
President Donald Trump stands in the colonnade as he is introduced to speak to March for Life participants and pro-life leaders in the Rose Garden at the White House on January 19, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump appears to have woken up in a bad mood Sunday morning, his patience seemingly wearing thin on the second day of the government shutdown that officially started on Saturday. Amid questions about whether Republicans and Democrats would be able to reach a deal to open up the government before Monday morning, Trump took to Twitter for another round of blasting Democrats and praising Republicans.

Trump said that while Republicans are “fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border,” Democrats “just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.” The commander in chief warned that “if stalemate continues” Republicans should invoke the “Nuclear Option,” meaning changing the rules of the Senate so a spending bill can pass with a simple majority.

That threat seems to be part of the White House talking points. “If ordinary rules prevailed, the majority rules in the Senate, the government would be open as of today,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on CNN when asked about Trump’s tweet. “It also responds to this constant criticism we hear—‘Oh, you Republicans control the White House and the House and the Senate, why can’t you just fund the government?’” Mulvaney emphasized that because of the 60-vote threshold, “We cannot open the government without Senate Democrats’ support.” So far at least, it doesn’t seem like Republican lawmakers are getting on board. “The Republican Conference opposes changing the rules on legislation,” David Popp, spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said.

Trump made his incendiary statement in what observers largely see as the last day to reach a quick end to the shutdown. Congress will be holding a session on Sunday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened that if all else fails he will call for a vote at 1 a.m. Monday to fund the government for three weeks without any action on immigration.

Although McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have both shown no signs that any compromise is imminent, some Republicans are saying off the record that a deal could be reached Sunday, reports Bloomberg. Still, it’s difficult to see how that could happen when it seems Democrat and Republican leaders were more concerned with pointing fingers than negotiating.

“Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with Jell-O, it is next to impossible,” Schumer told reporters. “The president needs to pull up a chair to end this shutdown.” Schumer said that the White House never reached out to him on Saturday, adding that “they say they are not negotiating—that’s foolish.” Schumer and McConnell also seem to be waiting for the other one to launch negotiations, leading to frustration from colleagues.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed to recriminate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Saturday for their seeming disinterest in reaching a compromise. “How could you take an 80 percent issue and screw it up? How could you take funding for the military when we’re at war and screw it up? There’s something wrong around here. And all I am trying to tell ya is I don’t want to be part of that something,” Graham said. “To the extent that I can be part of the solution, I want to. I don’t have all the answers. … I do know this about what the answer is—the answer is opening back up the government, dealing with DACA and military funding. One will not go without the other.”