White House Voicemail Says Democrats Holding Military ‘Hostage’
The White House changed its voicemail amid the government shutdown, which started over the weekend, and it made note of who is behind it.
“Thank you for calling the White House,” the voicemail says, according to IJR.com.
“Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate,” the message says. “Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.”
Lawmakers met on Saturday to try to come to an agreement to deal with the shutdown. No decision was made, Politico reported.
President Donald Trump on Sunday hinted at a “nuclear” option.
“Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!”
Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2018
A government spending bill would need 60 votes to pass the Senate, which would mean that at least nine Democrats would have to vote in favor of it.
“What we’re facing right now is Democrats taking an absolutely implausible position that says we’re going to deny funding to two million troops who are serving our country, tens of thousands of border patrol agents trying to protect our country, over an issue that’s not even in this bill,” Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, told “This Week.” “That is an impossible position on which to negotiate.”
The president’s son, Eric Trump, told Fox News on Saturday night that Democrats shut down the government because they want “to distract” from the president’s momentum after one year in office.
"My father was elected for one reason, and that's because he actually believes in putting America first, which is overwhelming among the citizens of this country."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 21, 2018
“He’s gotten more done in one year than arguably any president in history,” he said. “Honestly I think [the shutdown’s] a good thing for us, because people see through it.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday accused Senate Democrats of misrepresenting negotiations with President Trump in order to keep the government open.
“It’s hard for the president, or for Senate Republicans, to negotiate with Senate Democrats sitting across the table when they don’t get what they want, they run out and they misrepresent what was a good faith effort,…claim that some ridiculous deal was made and then claim the president walked away from that deal and the media buys it hook line and sinker,” Cotton told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
In the shutdown, U.S. government workers were told to stay home or, in some cases, work without pay until new funding is approved in the first federal government shutdown since a 16-day funding lapse in October 2013, Reuters reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote Monday on a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8, unless Democrats agree to hold it sooner.
“We’ll be right back at this tomorrow and for as long as it takes” for Democrats to vote for legislation that would reopen the government, McConnell said.
Democrats insisted they have been willing to compromise but Republicans backed out of deals. Republicans said they would refuse to negotiate on the unrelated issue of immigration until Democrats provide the votes to re-open the government.
“The president will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Reuters contributed to this report.