'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 TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall 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 PelosiOn The Money: Senate Dems to introduce resolution blocking Trump emergency declaration | Banks made billion in extra profits thanks to GOP tax law | IRS analyst charged with leaking Cohen's financial records Coast Guard lieutenant accused of planning domestic terrorism denied bail Inviting Kim Jong Un to Washington MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration 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 MurphyCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms 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 GillibrandKamala Harris: Trump administration ‘targeting’ California for political purposes Harry Reid says he won’t make 2020 endorsement until after Nevada caucus Gillibrand to appear on Fox News Monday night 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 MurrayJohnson & Johnson subpoenaed by DOJ and SEC, company says Top Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment MORE (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Trump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks 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 MulvaneyOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Trump, Dems open drug price talks | FDA warns against infusing young people's blood | Facebook under scrutiny over health data | Harris says Medicare for all isn't socialism White House spokeswoman leaving to join PR firm Trump’s state of emergency declaration imperils defense budget MORE and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerFive things to know about Trump confidant Tom Barrack Dems open new front against Trump Dems launch investigation into Trump administration's dealings with Saudi Arabia 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.