National parks are being vandalized, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are showing up to work without pay, but while the partial government shutdown drags on President Donald Trump wants you to know: You should feel bad for him that he’s stuck in the White House.
Since the shutdown first began on Dec. 22, Trump has tweeted every weekend, and during down time during the week, to make a point that he’s at the White House.
It started around Christmas time, just days into the partial government shutdown, when Trump began tweeting that he was holed up and by himself.
“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal,” he tweeted on Christmas Eve, making it clear he was sore about missing his usual holiday at his resort in Mar-a-Lago. (Melania and their son Baron both left their Florida trip early in order to be with the president over the holiday.)
I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
He brought it up again in his interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity this week:
TRUMP: If you don’t have a barrier, whether it’s a steel barrier or a concrete wall, substantial and strong, you never are going to solve this problem. You are never going to solve — and I don’t need this.
Look, I could have done something a lot easier. I could have enjoyed myself. I haven’t left the White House because I’m waiting for them to come over in a long time. You know that. I stayed home for Christmas. I stayed at the White House for New Year’s.
HANNITY: I think you tweeted Christmas Eve, all alone, where is Chuck and Nancy?
TRUMP: My family, I told them, stay in Florida and enjoy yourselves. The fact is I want to be in Washington. I mean, I consider it very, very important.
Trump is determined to get his border wall and a slam dunk on his signature campaign promise, refusing to back down from his demands of $5 billion to fund his border wall. Congressional Democrats say they won’t go higher than $1.3 billion on border security as a whole. But Trump wants you to believe that he’s working hard on a deal.
I just watched a Fake reporter from the Amazon Washington Post say the White House is “chaotic, there does not seem to be a strategy for this Shutdown. There is no plan.” The Fakes always like talking Chaos, there is NONE. In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me, and...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2019
This weekend he’s blaming Democrats for the impasse. They’re away on “vacations” (or as some of us might call it, the weekend), while he’s alone in the Oval Office, waiting for a deal. In some ways, it’s a good communications strategy: He’s appealing over Twitter to his supporters to make it seem as though he’s been putting in extra hours at work — to no avail.
The reality, however, is that Trump has had ample opportunity to cut a deal for some time now.
I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security. From what I hear, they are spending so much time on Presidential Harassment that they have little time left for things like stopping crime and our military!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018
It’s not like Trump has been doing a lot of productive work
So far, Trump’s meetings with congressional leaders have dissolved in chaotic tantrums. He’s stormed out of meetings, got into a shouting match on TV, and gone on profanity-laden rant while repeatedly referring to the shutdown as a “strike.” He took a trip to the southern border, where he paraded Border Patrol agents as props for his photo ops pushing for the wall.
He and his top advisors have offered extra money to address the humanitarian crisis at the border and have been willing to compromise on what his barrier will look like — be it steel slats, concrete, walls and fences. But so far Trump has yet to budge much at all on his $5 billion asking price. Vice President Mike Pence once floated a $2.5 billion compromise, but congressional Democrats rejected the deal after Trump himself said he refused to back down from his original offer.
Trump is not the only one who could be doing something — there are plenty of paths out of the impasse. Democrats could fold and give Trump his money. But it’s worth noting if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked with a little more than dozen Democrats, he could form a veto-proof majority: Senate Republicans could suck it up and get the votes together to reopen the government.