Trump says shutdown is 'up to the Democrats'

By Tony Bertuca / January 18, 2018 at 12:49 PM

President Trump said outside the Pentagon today that Democrats will bear responsibility for a government shutdown should Congress be unable to pass a short-term continuing resolution by a Friday night deadline.

"Could happen," Trump said, according to a press pool report. "We'll see what happens. It's up to the Democrats."

Trump was at the Pentagon to meet with senior military officials in advance of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' release of the new National Defense Strategy.

"But if for any reason [the government] shuts down, the worst thing is what happens to our military," Trump said. "And the worst thing is for our military; we don't want that to happen. I'm here to support our military."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said earlier in the day he was optimistic that Congress would pass a CR that extends government funding to Feb. 16, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters in a weekly press conference that House Democrats would be voting against it because it does not contain a compromise on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"This is like giving you a bowl of doggy doo, putting a cherry on top and calling it a chocolate sundae," she said of the CR proposal. "Their CR is so ill-suggested that they may not even have 51 Republicans voting in the Senate for it."

Though Trump, Ryan and other Republicans said Democrats will be blamed for imperiling defense spending because of immigration policy, Pelosi said she was confident any blame for a shutdown would fall on Republicans because they have majorities in the House and Senate and a president in the White House.

"I think the public knows that the Congress of the United States has a Republican majority," she said.