Trump Described The Government Shutdown As A "Strike" In A Meeting With Lawmakers, Reports Say
Roughly two weeks into the partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump met with Democratic leaders on Friday to discuss reopening the government. However, The Daily Beast reported that their meeting did not result in much progress, as Trump described the government shutdown as a "strike" and continued to demand more than $5 billion in funding for his proposed border wall.
According to The Hill, Trump kicked off his meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by embarking on a 15-minute rant laced with profanity. He reportedly used the word "f*ck" multiple times during the meeting, and suggested that he would let the government shutdown stretch on for "months or even years" if that's what it took for his border wall to become reality.
Trump told Pelosi and Schumer that he preferred the word "strike" to "shutdown," but as The Daily Beast pointed out, hundreds of thousands of federal workers have had to work without pay during the shutdown — effectively the opposite of a strike. Trump instead appeared to be referring to his own refusal to reopen the government until his border wall funding demands are met.
Earlier this week, the House's new Democratic majority passed funding bills to reopen government agencies impacted by the shutdown, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to pass any legislation that Trump will not sign. According to The Hill, Trump has threatened to veto any funding bills that do not designate resources to a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The president's reportedly profanity-filled speech to lawmakers came just one day after he argued that newly-elected Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib had "dishonored her family" with her own use of profanity. Shortly after she was sworn into Congress on Thursday, Tlaib told her supporters that she and her fellow Democrats would "impeach the motherf*cker," referring to Trump.
The Washington Post reported that Trump swore so much during Friday's meeting that he apologized to Pelosi at one point for his use of profanity. However, though unprompted, Trump also reportedly brought up the Democrats who have threatened to pursue his impeachment, and blamed Pelosi for Tlaib's remarks, per The Daily Beast. Trump then reportedly told Pelosi and Schumer that he was too popular to impeach, echoing a Friday tweet in which he suggested that Democrats only wanted to impeach him because of his success as president.
In response to Trump's rant about impeachment, Pelosi reportedly reminded the president she and Schumer were there to talk about reopening the government. Pelosi, for her part, said last year that impeachment was not a top priority for Democrats, though the party's progressive wing has aired the possibility of pursuing impeachment proceedings nonetheless.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, told The Hill that he vehemently disagreed with Trump's description of the government shutdown as a "strike."
"The only strikes are the strikes against him," Biden said. "I mean, look, everybody knows who Donald Trump is. They know the game he's playing. But these people are suffering right now."
Since the government shutdown began on Dec. 22, approximately 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed, and another 420,000 have had to continue working without pay. CNBC reported that as the shutdown continues, airport security agents and other federal workers have started to call in sick, and are unsure about when they will receive their next paycheck.