He now has another historic hack at his belt, the longest closure of the government – a stalemate that marks a new low for Washington's dysfunction.

The quarrel triggered by Trump's billion-dollar demands for finally fulfilling his promise of a failed campaign – to build a border wall – began so long ago that Republicans had a monopoly on Washington's power. The Democrats' takeover of the House deepened the gap between the two camps, and neither side wanted to do so, nearly 22 days later, the end is not yet in sight.

The last three weeks have highlighted the lack of empathy of a billionaire president who ignores the struggles of federal workers who work settlement paychecks. Trump is clearly more concerned about a wildlife policy project than about his constitutional role of providing governance to all Americans.

But he is not alone in his breach of duty. The Republican-run Senate does nothing to offer its president a way to save face. And while House Democrats are voting to pass bills to reopen the government, they do not seem to be doing much to break the stalemate. Before Trump was president, party leaders seemed at least willing to fund a border fence as part of broader immigration legislation.

Trump urged Friday party leaders to return to Washington and vote for a wall, fence or what they want to call – even "peaches".

"That's where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and vote for money for the wall, the fence, whatever you want, that's acceptable," the president said at a round table on Immigration to the White House.

"They can name it as they want.They can name it" peaches. "I do not care what they name, but we need money for this barrier," he added.

This stalemate represents a crucial first fight between Trump and his Democratic enemies in the new era of divided Washington government.

But every battle has victims. And currently, there are 800,000 government employees who feel insulted, forgotten and worried about rent, mortgage, paying a car and medical bills that accumulate.

While they are worried, nothing is happening in Washington this weekend. In fact, members of Congress, who are paid, are on leave until Monday.

They might notice, on their way home, that the country's transportation system is under severe strain. Many of these TSA agents who ensure the safety of travelers work without pay. A Tampa airport opens a food bank for its employees. And some food inspections are pending, the government being shut down.

National park visitors cut Joshua's protected trees during partial government shutdown

"I would like to beg both Houses of Congress, I would ask the American people to kindly look around and understand that federal workers have a face, we have families," said Jacqueline Maloney, a federal employee whose salary was not paid on Friday. said Brooke Baldwin of CNN in an emotional interview.

"We could be a neighbor, your best friend, the mother of your best friend, your aunt, your cousin, we are everywhere."

Government closures generally end when political leaders caught in the stalemate calculate that the political damage caused by a standing position begins to outweigh the embarrassment of the descent.

With tales of anger and deprivation of government staff stuck in an appalling situation, beyond their control, which now dominate the news coverage, this point could be closer.

However, neither side is showing any signs of cracking yet.

That's on Trump

Without Trump, there would not have been a stop. The president, apparently fearful of a violent reaction from the conservative media, refused to keep the government open until Christmas, unless funding was secured.

Over the last week, Trump has attempted various political schemes to try to overturn the blame. He gave an oval office address. He left the talks with the Democratic leaders. He flew Air Force One to the border to paint an inaccurate picture of hordes of criminals and killers flocking to the country.

"The only way to stop yourself is with a very powerful wall or steel fence," Trump told the White House on Friday.

Now, while he's trying to get taxpayer money to build a wall that he promised Mexico to pay, the president presents the unmistakable assertions that the neighbor of America has already settled – in the framework of a new trade agreement not yet ratified.

8 Republicans join a vote in the House to reopen the IRS and other financial agencies despite the veto

By any conventional measure, Trump is guilty of putting his own political ego over the interests of the Americans he directs. Despite all the power of his campaign rhetoric among his followers, he has not changed the political hand at all. He seems to forget that in a divided government, a president can not just ask what he wants.

Trump supporters argue that there is a real crisis at the border and that it is a "false news" that a wall along the border with Mexico might not be the best way to combat drug trafficking and asylum applications on the rise.

In fact, the wall has become an emotional center of Trump's relationship with his political base – and such a symbol of dislike for the president for those who oppose him – that he has become an insoluble question.

And the officials pay the price.

"The bottom line is that there is no excuse for this political stunt simply because the president has engaged when he has presented himself in elections, "said Michael Good Politic, the former mayor of New York, in an interview with CNN.

"He can not do it and keep his promises for his constituency, he should just get up and say that I've tried and move on," said Good Politic, a possible Democratic presidential candidate for 2020. " There is no problem, no constituency, the president has not been elected to represent a party or a small group, he is supposed to be the representative of an entire country. "

Until now, Trump has rebuffed his threat to declare a national emergency and reschedule Pentagon funds – possibly from disaster relief projects in Puerto Rico and Texas – to finance his wall.

Such an approach could allow him to proclaim a victory that most people will deem hollow. He could possibly sell his supporters during a battle in the courts after an almost certain legal challenge and reap political capital.

But this would also represent a fundamental disregard for constitutional governance, as a future president, prevented by Congress from fulfilling its essential task of deciding how taxpayers' money is spent, could choose to pursue his favorite political project.


The failure of Congress to unlock the stalemate has disgusted some of its most venerable members.

"How can we solve this problem? We owe it to the American people. It's like a circus," Republican Senator Richard Shelby, of Alabama, said earlier in the week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who once boasted that "I am the guy who pulls us out of business," was a ghostly presence.

McConnell has refused to follow up on Democratic House bills to open various government agencies because Trump will not agree to sign them.

For the moment, McConnell does not want to open any cracks in the Republican coalition by breaking with a president who has taken advantage of his dedicated base to punish all the dissidents of his party.

However, there could come a time when some members of the GOP, such as Senator Colorado, Cory Gardner, Senator Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins of Maine begin to hinder McConnell's life.

Republicans in the Senate begin to crack while Murkowski calls at the end of the stop

The bitterness of the closure policy has also revealed a layer of hypocrisy that reigns on both sides of the aisle in this fractured political era.

In 2016, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham signed an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case challenging the use of executive power by President Barack Obama to protect recipients of the Deferred Action Plan for the late arrivals. Children of the deportation.

The document complains that Obama's gesture is an attempt to supplant the power of Congress and a threat to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers. These standards seem less important for southern Carolina than Trump is now in the White House.

"Mr. President, declare a national emergency NOW, build a wall NOW," tweeted Graham Friday after meeting Trump.

Part of Graham's frustration stems from his belief that Democrats are hypocrites who refuse to consider immigration enforcement policies that they had favored in the past.

At the beginning of last year, the Democrats and the White House signed an agreement that would have allowed Trump to obtain $ 25 billion in border security in exchange for the citizenship of the recipients of the DACA – undocumented migrants brought illegally in the United States as children.

Trump eventually pulled out of the market.

The idea of ​​a fence at the border, or a wall in some areas, has not been as radioactive for Democrats in the past.

In 2006, Democrats, including the current leader of the senatorial minority, Chuck Schumer, then Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted in favor of allowing a secure fence along about 700 miles from the US-Mexico border.

The project was far from the wall of concrete or steel envisioned by Trump.

But given the symbolic power of the idea of ​​a wall, it is not clear that Democrats – who do not want their first act in the House to be a concession to Trump, would consider such a plan today. .

"A wall is immorality," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week.

Liz Stark from CNN contributed to this report.