Trump Watched Obama Shutdown Videos From 2013 All Saturday, Apparently
The United States government shut down early Saturday morning, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's presidency. As the day progressed, the president sent out tweets heralding his accomplishments as president and also chastising Democrats for the shutdown. Trump also reportedly watched videos from the Obama-era shutdown in 2013, in which he rebuked the former president for showing a lack of leadership.
According to The New York Times, Trump was reportedly highly frustrated about the shutdown on Saturday and was forced to miss a celebration party for his presidential anniversary at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The president reportedly opted to stay in the White House for most of Saturday, tweeting occasional condemnations of Senate Democrats.
In one tweet, the president chastised Democrats for what he perceived as prioritizing immigration over the military.
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead.
Trump also reportedly spent much of his time on Saturday watching old television clips in which he had berated President Obama for the 2013 government shutdown, which lasted 16 days. At the time, Trump had given several television interviews in which he essentially suggested that the former president's lack of leadership played a large role in the shutdown.
Indeed, Trump appeared to squarely place shutdown blame on the president's shoulders during a 2013 Fox and Friends interview, in which he stated:
I mean, problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top and the president's the leader. And he's got to get everybody in a room and he's got to lead.
[W]hen they talk about the government shutdown, they're going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time.
They're not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head the Senate, who's running things in Washington. ... So I really think the pressure is on the president.
Trump echoed similar sentiments in 2011, when the federal government appeared likely to shutdown, but ultimately did not. In an interview with Meredith Vieira that year, Trump shared his thoughts on who should be blamed if a shutdown were to come to fruition.
In my opinion — you know, I hear the Democrats are going to be blamed and the Republicans are going to be blamed. I actually think the president would be blamed. If there is a shutdown, and it's not going to be a horrible shutdown because, as you know, things will sort of keep going. ... If there is a shutdown I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the president of the United States. He's the one that has to get people together.
In addition to seemingly blaming former President Obama for causing the 2013 shutdown, Trump also suggested in another media interview in 2013 that it was the president's job to broker a deal to avoid a shutdown. Indeed, Trump indicated that if he were president and a shutdown were looming, it would be important to "get everybody in a room"; he continued:
You have to be a leader, the president has to lead. ... [Y]ou have to get the people in the room, and you have to get a deal that's good for everybody and good for the country.
In apparent contrast with his previously-expressed views about the role of the president during a government shutdown, Trump has seemingly taken a backseat during this weekend's shutdown negotiations, with CNN reporting that the president did not appear in public and did not take any meetings on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, as The New York Times noted, he reportedly opted to stay inside the White House, consuming current and former media coverage.
Many Americans will likely be closely watching to see how Trump continues to respond to the shutdown. The next Senate vote will take place on Monday at noon, when the Senate will vote on a bill that could fund the government through Feb. 8.