Mere minutes before the market closed at 1 pm ET on Christmas Eve, the S&P 500 broke below its lows from April 2017, signaling the end to the longest bull market in US history. And now that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s fumbling plan to “calm” markets by ringing up the Plunge Protection Team on the day before Christmas has spectacularly backfired – and a good chunk of the federal government is set to remain closed through the holiday (ensuring that the White House Christmas tree will remain symbolically dark) – the Democrats just couldn’t resist kicking sand in the President’s face as the majority of Americans tune out for the holiday.
In a joint statement from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders chided Trump for “plunging the country into chaos” by obeying the whims of conservative talk radio hosts, repeatedly lashing out at the Federal Reserve and “firing” the Secretary of Defense.
And as long as Trump remains beholden to the destabilizing elements within the House Freedom Caucus, there’s no telling when the government shutdown will end. “Different people from the White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment.”
“The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems to not know how to get himself out of it. As long as the president is guided by the House Freedom Caucus, it’s hard to see how he can come up with a solution that can pass both the House and the Senate and end his Trump Shutdown.”
Presumably, this means the Democrats have rejected the latest White House overture – a deal that reportedly would have included $2.5 billion in funding for a border fence and $400 million for “border security.” With most lawmakers already back in their home districts for the holiday, the government will almost certainly remain closed until at least Thursday.
And judging by the tone of debate, the shutdown could endure at least until Democrats retake the House officially in January.
Read the full statement below:
JUST IN: Joint statement from Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: “It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos.” https://t.co/WqglJZujac pic.twitter.com/oGcfrYjkLH
— ABC News (@ABC) December 24, 2018
Pelosi and Schumer’s criticisms echoed the talking points from an end-of-year editorial published by billionaire financial media mogul and 2020 contender Michael Bloomberg, who similarly accused Trump of ignoring the basic reality that Democrats are about to take control of the House – giving them responsibility for overseeing decisions relating to public spending – in favor of appeasing the most hard-line elements of his party.
Even if a wall were a good idea — and it is not — a government shutdown would be a dumb way to pursue it. The Democrats have just won control of the House of Representatives. The country has given them a full share of responsibility for making decisions about public spending. Does the president expect to override this reality by maneuvering to shut down the government? His penchant for ignoring reality — evident in so many other areas, including climate change — apparently extends to elections. This weekend, he imposed needless costs on government workers and on the country at large — not to accomplish anything, or to defend any principle, but to pander to the extreme wing of his party and rage at being thwarted. Republicans in Congress have gone along with this for too long. November should have been a wake-up call.
The only path forward, according to Bloomberg, would be for Republicans to “grow a spine” and stand up to the president. Barring that, it looks like the government will remain shuttered for the foreseeable future.