- President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sent off a pair of tweets on Friday night hinting the White House’s next move after Congress passed legislation to reopen the government, which Trump signed on Friday night.
- The partial government shutdown, which lasted 35 days, officially ended on Friday with Trump’s signature on legislation passed by Congress.
- However, the legislation is only a temporary fix (much like the initial stopgap funding bill that Trump said he would not sign back in December), setting lawmakers up for another sparring match.
President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders sent off a pair of tweets on Friday night hinting the White House’s next move after Congress passed legislation to reopen the government, which Trump signed on Friday night.
The continuing resolution funds the government until February 15 – without $US5.7 billion in appropriations for Trump’s proposed barrier along the US-Mexico border – offering some relief to roughly 800,000 federal workers who were either furloughed or working without pay.
The move to end the shutdown, which wreaked havoc on airports, impacted national parks, and left federal employees and contractors in a lurch, was seen as a defeat for Trump and a win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Democrat who has said Congress will not fund the proposed wall.
However, the legislation is only a temporary fix (much like the initial stopgap bill passed by the Senate in December that Trump said he would not sign without wall funds), setting lawmakers up for another sparring match.
And two Friday-night tweets, sent before the president signed the continuing resolution to reopen the government, may have signalled the White House’s next steps.
“I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall,” Trump tweeted. “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”
Quoting Trump’s tweet, Sanders echoed those sentiments.
“In 21 days President @realDonaldTrump is moving forward building the wall with or without the Democrats,” she said. “The only outstanding question is whether the Democrats want something or nothing.”
The reactions from Trump and Sanders follow criticism from conservative-leaning personalities who scoffed at Trump’s agreement with congressional lawmakers that includes no money for a border wall. Some of them concluded that Trump had backed down.
The tweets seem to dangle the threat that Trump will declare a national emergency in order to go around Congress and get funds for the wall, if a deal to both fund the government and Trump’s border wall is not reached in 21 days.
The possibility of declaring a national emergency to build the wall has been kicked around by the Trump camp for several weeks. This week CNN reported that the White House was allegedly preparing a draft of a national emergency, which would divert $US7 billion to build Trump’s long-promised wall along the border.
However, as CNN’s Manu Raju points out, the White House saying that Trump will build the wall with or without Democrats doesn’t give lawmakers much “incentive to give Trump money for a wall in this next round of talks.”
In a statement released on Friday night, Democratic leaders didn’t seem worried about the tight three-week window to make a deal.
“We asked the President to open up government so we would have time to have debate on the best way to protect our border,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Democrats are committed to border security and we think we have some better ideas about how to do so, that protects our borders, honour our values and are cost-effective.”
INSIDER contacted the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office for further comment and will update as necessary.