Threatening to shut down the government is the “polar opposite of leadership” and it “won’t accomplish anything” other than “chaos,” congressional Democrats warned President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
During a rally in Arizona Tuesday night, Trump said he is willing to risk a shutdown to secure funding for a border wall.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he said.
Democrats were quick to characterize the threat as reckless.
“Last night, President Trump yet again threatened to cause chaos in the lives of millions of Americans if he doesn’t get his way,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Make no mistake: the President said he will purposefully hurt American communities to force American taxpayers to fund an immoral, ineffective and expensive border wall.”
The California Democrat said her party remains “strongly opposed” to the “border wall boondoggle” and that Democrats will “stand fast” against it despite Trump’s threat.
Pelosi also reminded Republicans that the last government shutdown in 2013, which occurred because conservatives demanded a cut-off of funding to the 2010 health care law, cost $24 billion and 120,000 jobs.
“If the President pursues this path, against the wishes of both Republicans and Democrats, as well as the majority of the American people, he will be heading towards a government shutdown which nobody will like and which won’t accomplish anything,” the New York Demoorat said in a statement.
Trump threatening a shutdown if he doesn’t get his way “is the polar opposite of leadership,” House Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey said in a statement.
Congress should not be wasting billions to “fulfill campaign applause lines” but rather invest that money in in schools, health care, infrastructure, job creation and “addressing actual homeland security vulnerabilities,” the New York Democrat said.
Lowey added: “If the President follows through on his threat to shut down the government, he and his enablers should be held fully accountable”
Republicans have largely been mum about the Trump threat, but some conservatives have reacted positively to the president's desire to build the wall.
In advance of the Arizona speech, Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who previously chaired the House Freedom Caucus, said “Congress should include border wall funding in government funding legislation this fall. It’s what we ran on – we need to fulfill that promise.”