'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 TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves 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 PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports 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 MurphySenate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO Israel signals confidence in its relationship with Biden Senators' personal office staffers to get top security clearance: report 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 GillibrandThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Lobbying world Democrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate 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 MurrayOn The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice MORE (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Democrats call out Biden Supreme Court commission Midterm gloom grows for Democrats 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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyJan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 11, including Pierson, other rally organizers MORE and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerWatchdog finds no money has flowed out of agency tasked by Trump admin to fight pandemic Watchdog cites 13 Trump officials who violated Hatch Act before 2020 election McCain blasts Graham for refuting funeral remark about Kushner, Ivanka Trump 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.