Donald Trump often claims to make history. Saturday, he really did it.
While officially the longest stop in US history is nearing its fourth week, leaders do not seem closer to reaching an agreement to stop it.
A senior Trump administration official said that Vice President Mike Pence would remain in Washington DC this weekend and would communicate with White House senior officials and Capitol Hill lawmakers as part of the negotiating efforts of the administration. Neither party seemed particularly optimistic that they were about to reach an agreement after a long week of theater and results.
On Friday afternoon, the president announced to the press that he would let Congress clarify the details "now" instead of embarking on a risky strategy of declaring a national emergency and siphoning off money. from other parts of the budget.
Trump insisted that he would be legally entitled to do so, even though his own lawyers had warned him of the highly questionable constitutionality of such an approach and the quasi-judicial challenge that It would arouse.
In a letter to Democratic MPs on Friday night, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised to fight against any attempt by the White House to bypass Congress.
"Now, President Trump threatens to grant him extraordinary powers to steal billions of dollars from disaster-stricken communities, urgent military projects and civil engineering work to build his wall," he said. she writes. "Leaders and our committees work together to develop legal, policy and communication responses, where appropriate."
The president's hesitation on the issue underscores the state of confusion and improvisation that currently prevails at the Trumpworld summit, as the president and the GOP take on Democratic leaders, neither side showing signs fallback during this prolonged fight. The best allies of the White House at Capitol Hill, looking for some clarity, also remained empty.
On Friday morning, Mercedes Schlapp, director of strategic communications for the White House, held a conference call with Republican House and Senate staff, including assistants to minority House leader Kevin McCarthy. Schlapp said she still did not know if the president was going to declare an emergency and bypass Congress to build his border wall. During the teleconference, Schlapp had asked the Republicans to repel the Democrats who had declared that such a statement was imminent – even when she had conceded that Trump's senior executives did not know whether it was imminent or not said the source to the Daily Beast.
"No end in sight" has become the expression of four words commonly used by internal and external sources to the administration to describe the stalemate. Half a dozen Trump administration officials privately acknowledge that the meetings and negotiations are currently just messaging opportunities for the news cameras, with neither party having any motivation. policy.
And although the week was full of events, with keynote speeches by the Trump and Democrat leaders, visits by the President and Vice President Pence to Capitol Hill and, of course, a suspension of the President after a The week ended as it began: Democrats and Republicans exchanged rumors about the closure of their respective offices, and very little or nothing was done for them. 800,000 federal employees who stayed on leave or worked without pay for three weeks.
The Republican Party voted in favor of the Senate version of the Domestic Credits Bill, as part of a strategy to open up areas of government that have nothing to do with the security of the people. borders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly rejected these bills, calling them "cascades".
"The last thing we need to do for the moment is that trade is useless, absolutely useless, only to vote in both directions," McConnell said Thursday in the Senate.
But members of his conference also indicated that they were beginning to get bored of stalemate.
"No one wins in this," said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in a speech to the Senate Friday afternoon. "We owe it to the people of this country to function … and when the government is stopped, partially or otherwise, we are not functioning."
Friday at noon, the House and Senate had left the city for the weekend, which guaranteed that the closure of his system would take place in his 24th day Monday.
Since the day before the partial shutdown of the government – the second stop of the Trump era – the president has kept his options, even or perhaps particularly extreme, on the table, often scrutinizing his memory of conservative media personalities and hardcore fans like Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh.
For example, the day after Trump hosted the pre-stop meeting and televised stunt with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer last month, Eric Bolling, BlazeTV's presenter and Trump's friend, said that he was in the oval office for a half-hour conversation with the president. . When their conversation touched on "Chuck and Nancy's meeting," Trump, as Bolling recalls, simply asked, "What did you think?
After the BlazeTV host told him that he thought the Democrats "looked like irritating teens," Trump nodded and asked him, "What do you mean?" Without adding anything.
"That's how he gets advice from people he trusts," including in the final battle, Bolling told The Daily Beast. "And often, he will not say much because he does not want to give what he's going to do … He does this thing where he listens a lot and does not really give what he is or what he thought."
Another Trump confidant said that during a recent conversation with the president, he had been urged to avoid Congress and exercise his emergency powers. Trump simply said that he had the power and that "maybe" he would do it soon, before suddenly changing the subject to evoke his eternal enemies in the media.
Meanwhile, federal employees were receiving their first paychecks with a zero balance as the impact of the closure increased. The increasingly serious state of the airline industry is particularly visible as more and more TSA agents have been called on sick leave, which has resulted in huge lines and security concerns. in the largest airport in the country, Los Angeles. The Miami International Airport had so few controllers that they were forced to close a terminal.
The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, whose members gathered Thursday afternoon at Capitol Hill, became the last union to sue the federal government for Friday's closure.
The only chance facing federal workers came Friday when the House passed a bill guaranteeing that they will be repaid during the government's closed weeks and that the president has announced it.