On Shutdowns, Trump Once Thought ‘Pressure is on the President’

But on Thursday, he said ‘it’s up to the Democrats’

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets then-President Barack Obama moments before Trump was sworn in on Inauguration Day last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Not too long ago Donald Trump made clear who he thought always should be blamed when the government shuts down: the sitting president of the United States. 

On Thursday, when asked who should be blamed if the government is shuttered at the end of the day Friday, Trump responded: “It’s up to the Democrats” to join Republicans and vote for a House GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill that would avert a federal shutdown.

But in 2013, Trump called into “Fox & Friends” to say then-President Barack Obama was responsible for a government shutdown. He said whoever is president when the federal apparatus is shuttered should be blamed.

“It always happens to be the top. I mean, the problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top,” Trump said then. “The president is the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead.” 

McConnell, Durbin Make Their Case As Shutdown Looms


Then-citizen Trump, whose political career began by questioning whether Obama was born in the United States, wasn’t finished.  

“When they talk about the government shutdown” in the future, “they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States.”

To drive home his point, Trump at that time concluded by saying: “I really think the pressure is on the president” to find a way to avoid a shutdown.

Just what this president is doing, other than tweeting, to keep the federal lights on tonight is unclear. White House aides have not described him as working the phones at the White House and on Air Force One during a trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday.

As Republican lawmakers and Tromp tried to write health care legislation then a tax overhaul bill, Trump frequently had lawmakers over to the White House for negotiations. The same was true last week as he tried to help broker a deal on an immigration overhaul bill. 

But, so far, Trump has not this week held emergency meetings with congressional leaders or rank and file members at the White House. There is no such meeting on his public schedule Friday.

The White House announced Friday morning that Trump would delay his departure for his Florida resort until the Senate has passed the funding bill.

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