Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox on Wednesday that it’s time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “get serious” about negotiating with President Donald Trump to end the government shutdown.
The partial government shutdown is in its fourth week — and there are no signs of it ending. Trump is holding firm on his demands for $5 billion in border wall money, but Democrats refuse to give a cent to solve the border crisis, which they say is “manufactured.”
“Nancy Pelosi has been unwilling to do anything, and it’s simply not going to work, and it’s not going to fix the problem,” Sanders said on Fox & Friends. “She’s gotta get serious about doing her job, and not just be serious about being a political figure.”
Sanders calls on Pelosi to negotiate
Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have tried to pin the blame on Trump for the shutdown, but it takes two, and the Democratic leaders have stubbornly refused to compromise with him from the start.
“Democrats have got to stop ignoring the problem, sit down with the president at the table and help us come to a solution,” Sanders said. “It’s now time for the Democrats to work with us and help us fix this problem. So far, they’ve been unwilling to do so.”
Democrats have said that they care about border security, but they are clearly not negotiating in good faith. Trump walked out of a meeting with Pelosi last week when he asked if she would agree to fund the border wall when the government re-opens and she refused.
The meeting came after Trump gave an Oval Office address on the border crisis and the Democrats gave a response, in which they said that he fabricated the problem to push for an expensive and ineffective border wall. Pelosi has also called the wall “immoral,” which makes compromise sound unlikely.
Meanwhile, Democrats have ratcheted up the pressure on Trump to end the shutdown as 800,000 government workers have gone without pay. Sanders said that Trump is willing to negotiate to end the shutdown so government workers can get their paychecks, but Democrats have to meet him halfway.
“The president will negotiate, but he’s not going to negotiate with himself,” she said. “He’s the only one that has a proposal on the table. Democrats have yet to put forward anything other than obstruction.”
Trump shuts down Pelosi
Pelosi was apparently in the mood to play games on Wednesday when she sent a letter to Trump threatening to cancel his State of the Union address, which was planned for later this month, unless he ends the shutdown on Pelosi’s terms. Pelosi cited bogus security concerns in what was a clear political power play. (The Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service both said they would have no problem covering the event.)
Trump appeared to respond on Thursday with a terse letter of his own postponing a congressional trip she had planned to Afghanistan, Brussels, and Egypt within minutes of its planned departure. A delegation of lawmakers led by Pelosi was caught off guard when they discovered that Trump had nixed their 3 p.m. trip by military aircraft.
“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote.
The letter continued: “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”
Although Pelosi was barred from taking military aircraft, she can still fly commercial, Sanders said. The White House said the letter was not a response to the Wednesday letter.
If Pelosi wants to be petty, the president just showed that two can play. A better option would be to stop the nonsense and start negotiating.