Donald Trump has apparently changed his mind about shutting down the federal government over his demand for funding to build a border wall.
Just days after Trump threatened a shutdown in a contentious meeting with Democratic leaders, he tweeted a video calling Democrats hypocrites and saying he doesn’t want a shutdown.
“Let’s not do a shutdown, Democrats — do what’s right for the American People!” the video’s caption read.
In the video, Trump claimed that Democrats had previously called for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but are now backing away from it.
“The Democrats are absolute hypocrites. All along they’ve been supporting walls, and supporting fences and supporting all sorts of border security,” Trump said, showing video clips of Senator Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama talking about the need for border security.
The video appeared to put the onus back on Democrats for a potential government shutdown, just days after Trump boasted that he would shut down the government and would personally take the blame for it.
“If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other… I will shut down the government. Absolutely,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
It was not clear if the appeal to Democrats would have much of an effect on Trump’s quest for $5 billion in funding to build the wall. As Nancy Pelosi told Trump during the televised meeting, he lacked the votes even from Republicans to fund the wall, and that Republicans had controlled the House, Senate, and White House, yet were still unable to pass the funding Trump was requesting. Democrats have said that they will not offer any new funding for the border wall and pointed out to Trump that he repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would be paying for the wall.
There were also signs that a government shutdown would be politically damaging to Donald Trump and Republicans. Other GOP leaders publicly warned Trump against shutting down the government, and another report noted that Trump was planning to start a 16-day vacation to his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort on the day the shutdown would have started. Many were worried that the trip would add to the bad optics for Trump, who had pre-emptively taken the blame for a potential shutdown.
The potential government shutdown would also force hundreds of thousands of employees home just before the Christmas holiday, which political experts said was another big risk for Donald Trump.
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