Add Donald Trump to the manifest of Republicans who have jumped aboard what might be called The Democrats Caved Train.
While lawmakers and sources say he was not heavily involved, the president was in full celebratory mode after Senate Democrats on Monday ended a government shutdown they forced over objections to immigration policy after just three days. Even though public opinion polls showed voters placed more blame on Trump and Republicans (48 percent) than Democrats (35 percent) over the shutdown, Trump’s tweets show he is sounding a message of victory.
The president cited an unlikely source, CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta — whom he and aides have called “fake news” — as he took a victory lap that began several hours after he signed a three-week stopgap measure into law.
Though Democrats forced Republicans to shave one week off a version the House passed late last week, Republicans lost little more than a possible promise to take up immigration legislation on the Senate floor early next month — and Senate Democrats did not even get an assurance the House would act on any bill they might help pass. The president certainly appears to think Democrats got rolled — or rolled themselves.
Watch: Schumer Says GOP Majority Has 17 Days to Reach Deal on DACA
He cited an Acosta report in which the correspondent said Trump officials are “dancing in end zone” and “Schumer and Dems caved” and the opposition party “gambled and lost.”
Even Crazy Jim Acosta of Fake News CNN agrees: “Trump World and WH sources dancing in end zone: Trump wins again...Schumer and Dems caved...gambled and lost.” Thank you for your honesty Jim!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018
He followed that with a jab at Democrats, saying they “have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!”
Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying....with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018
Those followed a tweet late Monday night in which the president declared the shutdown’s end a “big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown.”
It seemed inevitable that Trump would lash out at Democrats after Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced on Monday that his conference would support the three-week spending bill after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on the floor that if the government remains open when that stopgap funding expires on Feb. 8, he would bring immigration legislation to the floor.
Trump continued during the three-day shutdown to blame them for the situation via his tweets, and try to pin responsibility for ending it on them. And Trump always punches back, especially at charges like Schumer lobbed on Saturday when he said negotiating with Trump and his White House team is like talking to Jell-O.
The president did look ahead in his Monday night social media post, writing he now wants “a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA,” referring to the Obama-era program to protect individuals brought to the United States illegally by their parents.
He declared the two parties “Should be able to get there,” ending that tweet with a message for senators: “See you at the negotiating table!”
Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown. Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2018
One former senior Senate aide, however, told Roll Call the president was “not involved at all” in the shutdown-ending talks. Democratic lawmakers said the same, raising questions about Trump’s ability to strike an immigration deal despite his campaign-trail promises to be the dealmaker in chief.
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney confirmed that his boss was not heavily involved in talks to end the shutdown.
“Sometimes not going to the table is one of the best things you can do in a negotiation,” Mulvaney said on CNN Tuesday.
Like Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders a day earlier, Mulvaney contended the process allowed the administration to get “exactly what we wanted.”