Trump cancels New Year’s plans at Mar-a-Lago over government shutdown

Mr Trump had initially planned a 16 day holiday break at his Florida resort

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 28 December 2018 20:23
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President Donald Trump plans to stay in Washington until a deal has been made to end the partial government shutdown, and has cancelled his New Year’s plans for next week.

According to the president’s incoming chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney told Fox News' Fox & Friends that the president is committed to seeing a resolution to the government shutdown showdown.

“The President’s been here, by the way, all weekend, all Christmas,” Mr Mulvaney, who will take over from his current role as White House budget director at the start of the new year, said. “He’s staying in Washington DC over New Year’s. He’s cancelled his plans for Christmas. Now he’s cancelled his plans for New Year’s”.

The US government has been partially shutdown since last Friday, when Democrats, Republicans, and the president were unable to come to an agreement around Mr Trump’s demands for $5billion to fund a wall on the US-Mexico border.

Members of Mr Trump’s administration had indicated that the president would likely not pursue a shutdown over the wall funding, but the president's stance hardened late last week to demand the funds in spite of a bipartisan Senate funding resolution that could have averted the shutdown.

Since then, Mr Trump has stood firm over the shutdown, and has rejected offers from Democrats for just over $1 billion in border security funding. Democrats have, in turn, sought to place blame on Mr Trump for the lapse in government funding that has impacted as much as 25 per cent of the federal government and forced employees to work without pay.

With the government shutdown coming up on its first entire week, Mr Trump threatened to shut down the US-Mexico border if he does not get his way, while claiming that a new migrant caravan was forming to make its way to the US. He provided no evidence that such a caravan is forming.

Mr Mulvaney, during his Fox interview, said that Mr Trump is “very heavily engaged on [the shutdown negotiations] on a minute-by-minute basis”. He also said that he believes the president would be willing to shut the border down if necessary, and as promised.

He also suggested that incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may be more amenable to increased border funding once she wins the speaker gavel on 3 January.

“She cannot be seen by her party as being weak on negotiating with Donald Trump,” Mr Mulvaney said. “So we fully expected that until she's elected speaker and has locked that vote up, we don't expect to hear from the Democrats again”.

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Mr Trump had reportedly told people that he was looking forward to his annual New Year’s Eve gala at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and had initially planned a 16 day vacation to the resort, including Christmas.

The House and Senate both adjourned on Thursday, with members being told not to expect a vote, but being promised that they would receive 24 hours notice before any future vote. The legislative bodies are expected to meet again on Monday, a signal that the shutdown will likely last into 2019.

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