Poll shows ma­jor­ity blame Repub­li­cans for US shut­down

Gov­ern­ment clo­sure of­fi­cially be­came the long­est in US his­tory on Satur­day Trump tweets that im­mi­grants are to blame for crime rates in the US

The Irish Times - - World News - SUZANNE LYNCH Wash­ing­ton Cor­re­spon­dent

US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­tin­ued to hold Democrats re­spon­si­ble for the gov­ern­ment shut­down as it passed its 23rd day, de­spite a poll show­ing most Amer­i­cans blame Repub­li­cans for the im­passe.

The shut­down of­fi­cially be­came the long­est gov­ern­ment clo­sure in his­tory on Satur­day, beat­ing the 21-day record set dur­ing the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion in 1995. In a se­ries of tweets sent from the White House yes­ter­day, Mr Trump urged the Democrats to ne­go­ti­ate.

“I’m in the White House, wait­ing. The Democrats are ev­ery­where but Wash­ing­ton as peo­ple await their pay. They are hav­ing fun and not even talk­ing!” he tweeted.

He also re­turned to one of the cen­tral themes of his cam­paign trail – that im­mi­grants were to blame for crime in the coun­try. “The build­ing of the Wall on the South­ern Bor­der will bring down the crime rate through­out the en­tire Coun­try!” he tweeted. “The dam­age done to our Coun­try from a badly bro­ken Bor­der – Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad – is far greater than a Shut­down, which the Dems can eas­ily fix as soon as they come back to Wash­ing­ton!”

Thou­sands of fed­eral work­ers missed their first pay cheque on Fri­day as pay day came and went with­out a so­lu­tion to the ap­pro­pri­a­tions cri­sis that has led to a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down since De­cem­ber 22nd.

Re­fus­ing to cede

As politi­cians pre­pared to re­turn to Wash­ing­ton to­day for the work­ing week, no ne­go­ti­a­tions were sched­uled be­tween the Demo­cratic lead­er­ship and White House rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Democrats are re­fus­ing to cede to Mr Trump’s de­mands for $5.7 bil­lion for bor­der se­cu­rity.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said late last week that the con­cept of a bor­der wall was “im­moral”. With no end in sight to the gov­ern­ment shut­down, a fresh poll shows that more Amer­i­cans, by a wide mar­gin, blame Repub­li­cans over Democrats for the record-break­ing shut­down which has paral­ysed parts of Wash­ing­ton DC and the gov­ern­ment ma­chin­ery.

A to­tal of 53 per cent of re­spon­dents said Mr Trump and Repub­li­cans were to blame, while 29 per cent blame the Democrats, ac­cord­ing to an ABC-Wash­ing­ton Post poll; 13 per cent of peo­ple be­lieve both sides bear re­spon­si­bil­ity.

How­ever, there were some pos­i­tive signs for the White House when it comes to pub­lic sen­ti­ment about Mr Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial wall. Sup­port for build­ing it in­creased to 42 per cent from 34 per cent a year ago, the poll showed, though the in­crease mostly re­flected a strength­en­ing of sup­port among Repub­li­cans. Some 87 per cent of Repub­li­cans now sup­port the build­ing of the wall, the poll found.

In an in­ter­view with Fox News on Satur­day night Mr Trump again un­der­lined his pre­rog­a­tive to de­clare a na­tional emer­gency over im­mi­gra­tion, a move that could al­low him by­pass Con­gress and tap depart­ment of de­fence funds to build his wall. But the White House ap­pears re­luc­tant to do so at this junc­ture, in­stead fo­cus­ing on blam­ing Democrats for fail­ing to en­dorse a fund­ing deal that would ad­dress bor­der se­cu­rity con­cerns.

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