'So stupid,' 'absurd' – Senate Dems condemn shutdown after talks falter

Senate Democrats blasted the partial government shutdown Saturday, calling it "dumb," "unnecessary" and "truly absurd" while arguing it was entirely President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE's making.

The statements illustrate mounting frustration over what is the third shutdown in a year while signaling Democrats are ready to dig in for a fight against the White House, which has argued it is Senate Democrats' responsibility to end the funding lapse.

"Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. But instead of honoring his responsibility to the American people, President Trump threw a temper tantrum and convinced House Republicans to push our nation into a destructive Trump Shutdown in the middle of the holiday season," House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Moulton enters 2020 White House race Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement early Saturday.

"President Trump has said more than 25 times that he wanted a shutdown and now he has gotten what he wanted," the Democratic leaders added.


The theme of their statement was echoed throughout the Senate Democratic caucus, as senators blamed Trump for reversing course on a Senate-passed measure after buckling to criticism from his most conservative supporters that funding for a border wall must be included in a stopgap bill.

After the White House signaled earlier in the week it would be amenable to a funding bill with less than Trump's desired $5 billion for his proposed border wall, the president indicated on Thursday he would not sign a stopgap measure approved by the Senate that kept funding for border security and fencing at $1.3 billion without funding for a wall.

The House passed a measure that contained $5 billion in wall funding, but the bill was stonewalled in the Senate, forcing parts of the government to shut down at the end of the day on Friday after leaders failed to reach an agreement.

“This is so stupid. Congress and the White House had a bipartisan agreement to fully fund the government, but now we’re in a shutdown because the president threw a tantrum about his border wall that no one on the border even wants and he promised Mexico would pay for,” Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam MORE (D-Conn.) said in a statement Saturday.

"This is dumb and cruel, especially for the federal workers who won’t get a paycheck this Christmas," Murphy added on Twitter. "Republicans & Democrats had a deal and Trump lit it on fire, just [because] a few talk show hosts said mean things about him. He’s out of control."

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Cory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' MORE (D-N.Y.), a potential Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, lamented the role the Trump administration's "constant chaos and dysfunction" played in prompting the partial shutdown.


Other Democrats referenced the president's "11th-hour" change in tone on funding for the border wall.

"This shutdown is truly absurd, and would not have happened if President Trump had simply ignored the 11th-hour taunts of a handful of conservatives and instead moved forward with the Senate’s bipartisan bill," Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Overnight Energy: Collins receives more donations from Texas oil, gas industry than from Maine residents | Interior chief left meetings off schedule | Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to coal mine MORE (D-Hawaii) said Trump should "accept responsibility" for keeping the government open, and come to terms with his inability to get $5 billion for his border wall.

"This shutdown is totally unfair, completely unnecessary, and entirely the President’s fault," she added.

Trump and Democrats have long been at odds over funding for border security, but the clash came to a head in recent weeks as they sought to avert a partial shutdown.

Trump declared in a televised meeting earlier this month with Pelosi and Schumer that he would be "proud" to shut down the government over his wall and would not blame Democrats for the lapse in funding. He has since changed course, attempting to hold Democrats responsible for the current funding fiasco.

In a video message posted late Friday, Trump reiterated his calls for a "great barrier" along the border, and cast the length of the shutdown as a matter of whether Democrats come around in negotiations. 

"We’re going to have a shutdown," Trump said. "There’s nothing we can do about that because we need the Democrats to give us their votes. Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want, but we need their help to get this approved."

The House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene around noon on Saturday as lawmakers attempt to find a deal to end the shutdown.

The Senate will not vote again on a funding bill unless it's one that Democrats and the White House can agree on, senators said.

Some expressed optimism that a breakthrough was in the works after Schumer met late Friday with Vice President Pence, incoming acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting MORE.

However, Democrats appear prepared to hunker down on their demands. Schumer has said he does not believe the $5 billion in wall funding would receive the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, or even a majority.

"If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump Shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January," Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement.