Trump Took Responsibility for the Shutdown, and Voters Say It’s His
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said a month ago that he’d gladly take the blame for a government shutdown over his proposed border wall. Polls show he’s getting it.
Six surveys taken since the partial government closure began last month tell a consistent story -- half or more Americans believe Trump and his party are responsible for the shutdown, while one-third or fewer point the finger at Democrats.
Holding the president responsible marks a reversal in polling from previous shutdowns, and it’s raising pressure on Senate Republicans, some of whom have begun calling for Trump to relent and re-open the government while Congress debates funding for border security.
Here are the recent survey results:
- A Quinnipiac University poll taken Jan. 9-13 found that 56 percent of Americans blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, while 36 percent fault Democrats.
- A Washington Post/ABC poll taken Jan. 8-11 found that 53 percent say Trump and congressional Republicans are to blame, while 29 percent point the finger at Democrats.
- A CNN poll taken Jan. 10-11 showed that 55 percent blame Trump and Republicans, while 32 percent blame Democrats.
- A CBS/YouGov survey taken Jan. 9-11 said 47 percent blame Trump, 3 percent blame Republicans, and 30 percent blame Democrats.
- A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken January 1-7 found that 51 percent blame Trump, 7 percent blame Republicans and 32 percent fault Democrats.
- A Politico/Morning Consult poll from Jan. 4-6 found that 47 percent blame Trump, 5 percent blame Republicans and 33 percent blame Democrats.
The partial shutdown is the longest in modern U.S history and entered its 24th day on Monday, halting paychecks for 800,000 federal workers while forcing about 420,000 of them to work without pay. Efforts by Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to cut an immigration deal to resolve the impasse have failed, and Trump rejected his latest proposal on Monday morning.
The shutdown began at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 22 after Trump rejected legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Senate to fund the government unless it included funds for a border wall, a central campaign promise of his during the 2016 election. Democrats, who took control of the House on Jan. 3, have refused to support funding his concrete or steel barrier and are demanding that he back down.
In October 2013, a government shutdown occurred after the Republican-led House refused to include funding for Obamacare in spending legislation; they relented in 16 days. A CNN poll that month showed that 52 percent blamed Republicans in Congress, while 34 percent blamed President Barack Obama.
In November 1995, the first of two shutdowns occurred after the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans demanded steep domestic spending cuts opposed by President Bill Clinton. A CNN survey found that 49 percent blamed Republican leaders, while 26 percent blamed Clinton.
Trump didn’t help himself by embracing the responsibility for the looming shutdown on Dec. 11 during an acrimonious Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security," he said. "I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down."
Congressional Republicans were stunned. “‘I own it’? Really?” former Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who lost his seat in the November midterm elections, said the following day. "Do you really want to own this? Don’t you want to put it on their lap? Really!?”
Trump has since taken that advice and sought to blame Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
"Nancy and Cryin’ Chuck can end the Shutdown in 15 minutes. At this point it has become their, and the Democrats, fault!" he tweeted.
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