Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Could Last “Months or Even Years”

“I did say that. Absolutely I said that.”

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

President Donald Trump confirmed that he threatened Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to continue the partial government shutdown, now in its 14th day, for “months or even years” if Democrats did not agree to appropriate more than $5 billion for his proposed border wall.

“I did, I did,” Trump said during a press conference from the White House Rose Garden on Friday. “I did say that, absolutely I said that. I don’t think it will, but I am prepared.”

The president’s acknowledgment of the bold threat came shortly after congressional leaders met at the White House to discuss an end to the partial shutdown that has left nearly 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay.

“We told the president we needed the government open,” Schumer told reporters following the discussions. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

But Trump on Friday struck a decidedly optimistic tone after the meeting, claiming that the latest round of negotiations had been productive. That characterization, which Republican leaders echoed during their turns at the Rose Garden lectern on Friday, immediately rang hollow when the president confirmed he had issued the threat to Schumer earlier in the afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was present for the White House meeting earlier on Friday, was notably absent from the Rose Garden.

Later in the press conference, Trump encouraged landlords of federal workers affected by the shutdown to “be nice and easy” about tenants’ potential difficulties paying rent on time.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.