'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 TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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 PelosiProgressives call for impeachment inquiry after reported Kavanaugh allegations The promise and peril of offshoring prescription drug pricing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation 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 MurphyBolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report Congress set to ignore Trump's wall request in stopgap measure 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 GillibrandAt debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions Klobuchar, Buttigieg find themselves accidentally flying to debate together 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 MurrayOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Democratic senator on possibility of Trump standing up to the NRA: 'That's just such BS' 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 MulvaneyNOAA chief praises agency scientists after statement backing up Trump tweet The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Democrats ramp up calls to investigate NOAA MORE and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Arrests at southern border drop to 64K in August 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.