Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said early Saturday morning that President Donald Trump walked away from an offer earlier in the day that would include putting a wall on the border with Mexico “on the table” in a potential deal to avoid a government shutdown.
Schumer made his remarks on the floor of the Senate minutes after the chamber failed to pass legislation that would have averted a shutdown and continued funding the federal government for four weeks. He followed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blamed Democrats for the Senate’s failure to approve a bill passed by the Republican-controlled House on Thursday.
Schumer, however, resisted this characterization and pointed out that four Republican senators – Mike Lee of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky – voted in earnest against the continuing resolution. The New York Democrat then turned his ire on the president himself.
“The blame should crash entirely on President Trump’s shoulders,” Schumer said. “This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one who deserves the blame … more than President Trump.”
A White House representative did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment about Schumer’s remarks.
Schumer had a 90-minute meeting with Trump on Friday in the Oval Office. Only Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Schumer’s chief of staff were in the room with the senator and the president. Afterward, Schumer had a positive take on the meeting, although he did not say a deal was struck.
A wall along the American border with Mexico was the keystone of Trump’s populist, nationalist pitch to voters in he 2016 campaign and remains a point of contention in the president’s relationship with Congress. Democrats have largely resisted Trump’s calls for billions of dollars to build the barrier.