Monday marked the beginning of the government shutdown for most Americans. Most of the inconveniences were not visible over the weekend, but as the work week got started, agencies, programs, and other federally-funded services were stopped until a new spending bill is passed in Congress and signed by President Trump. Now who should take responsibility for the government shutdown has become a Twitter war, with warring hashtags and all. Here's what each side is saying.
It's too early to say who is to blame based on polling, but there's already a lot of information out there on who Americans think should take the blame for the shutdown — and it doesn't look good for the GOP. The earliest polls put the blame on Republicans or Trump with a margin of 20 points. Now the latest polls show them a little closer, but more independents still say that they would blame Republicans, at 34 percent, over Democrats, at 27 percent.
Republicans are pushing hard on cable news, Twitter, and more places to swing these numbers in the other direction. Trump has even brought his son Eric Trump onto Fox News to make the argument that Dems are to blame. Democrats, of course, would disagree.
President Trump's View
Trump has been attacking Democrats via social media since Friday, posting things on Twitter like, "Democrats are needed if [spending bill] is to pass in the Senate — but they want illegal immigration and weak borders. Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!"
When the bill didn't advance and the shutdown officially began, Trump took an even harder line. "Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy," he wrote.
He introduced the hashtag #DemocratShutdown too, posting with it, "This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present."
Trump has since continued with the argument that the Democrats are the ones who refuse to come to the negotiating table, that they place the replacement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) above other priorities. "They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!," Trump wrote Saturday.
He's also noted that the shutdown hurts military families several times. "The Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!" Trump wrote Monday, adding a second attack on the Democrat's base. "Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!" Trump tweeted.
Sarah Sanders' Argument
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has centered her communications on the health of the economy this past year, other GOP accomplishments, and then placing blame on Democrats. She has said Dems are holding "lawful citizens hostage" over "reckless demands." "This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators," Sanders tweeted introducing the hashtag #SchumerShutdown.
In addition, Sanders has focused on how the shutdown hurts the military, something that plays well with Trump's base. She has shared statements from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and photos from bases in Afghanistan where troops temporarily lost access to the overseas TV network for troops, Armed Forces Network.
"Democrats can shut down the government, but not the booming Trump economy, millions of new jobs, low unemployment for women, blacks & hispanics, tax cuts for families and businesses, ObamaCare individual mandate repeal, or winning campaign to defeat ISIS," Sanders posted to Twitter late on Sunday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has taken a measured, explicative tone in his social media. On Twitter, he has said that he would support a continuing resolution, but that Congress keeps kicking the can down the road.
"We have been skating by on continuing resolution after continuing resolution for almost 6 months. First, we passed a 3-month CR, then a 2-wk CR, then a 1-month CR. Now we are offered another month-long delay of the inevitable. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road," Schumer posted on Thursday.
He has also said that the Republicans aren't to blame — just Trump himself. "The only one who has ever rooted for a shutdown is @realDonaldTrump who said our country could use 'a good shutdown' – only he could come up with that. But no shutdown can be good for the American people," Schumer tweeted.
Schumer hasn't been as active on Twitter the past couple days, but one thing is clear. He wants the hashtag #TrumpShutdown to be the one trending. "This will be called the #TrumpShutdown. There is no one who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump," Schumer tweeted Saturday.
Other Dems on Twitter — they don't have a press secretary — have also been focused on Trump and how he hasn't played any role in negotiating a compromise.
"On year two, @realDonaldTrump has chosen to continue his chaotic presidency with a government shutdown," posted Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. "The #TrumpShutdown was completely avoidable and unnecessary. Once again, @POTUS has chosen chaos over consensus. He could end this by leading & coming to the negotiating table."
Ultimately, the person — or party — who gets blamed will be decided by the media. On Monday NBC News has also pointed out that Trump has been missing from the attempts at negotiation. That could change the polls even more in Dems' favor, and much more than any tweet possibly could.