Journalists, liberals blast AP for 'it takes two to tango' tweet about shutdown

A number of journalists and liberals are hitting The Associated Press for a tweet late Tuesday night in which the news organization said President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE and Democrats in Congress are both to blame for the shutdown because "it takes two to tango."

The tweet said that while Trump is to blame for the shutdown for demanding money for his border wall, so are Democrats for rejecting it.


"AP FACT CHECK: Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump," the AP tweeted.

"But it takes two to tango. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another."

Those criticizing the tweet said Trump deserved the blame for the shutdown, arguing his demand directly led to the partial closure of the government.

Kevin Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton University, compared the government shutdown to a bank robbery, essentially arguing that Trump was the robber and that Democrats were the bank officials.

Matthew Yglesias, who writes at the left-leaning website Vox, and Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel also said the AP was wrong to put an equal amount of blame on Trump and congressional Democrats.

Weigel suggested it was like blaming the forest for a forest fire, while Yglesias raised the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

Kaili Joy Gray, editor of the liberal media company Shareblue, tweeted a photo of the lone demonstrator who stared down a tank after the Tiananmen Square crackdown in China in 1989.

Neera Tanden, president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, called the tweet “terrible,” blaming Trump for not signing earlier bills that included $1.6 billion in funding for border security.

Brian Fallon, a former press secretary for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders No presidential candidate can unite the country GOP lawmakers speak out against 'send her back' chants MORE and executive director of Demand Justice, a group that fights Trump's judicial nominees, used the tweet to bring up Trump’s frequent attacks on the "fake news media."

Parts of the government have been shut down since Dec. 22.

The shutdown began after the Senate passed legislation by voice vote that would have kept the government open through Feb. 8. The Senate bill did not include new money for a border wall.

The day after the Senate vote, the House, then controlled by Republicans, passed legislation that provided $5.7 billion for the wall and border security and also kept funding for the government through Feb. 8. Democrats in the Senate rejected that measure. 

Democrats took over the House on Jan. 3 and passed measures that would have reopened the government. The Senate, led by Republicans, has not allowed votes on those measures.