TV news outlets revved up Monday morning for a noon vote on a deal to re-open the government in the early hours of Shutdown Day 3.
Sunday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a noon Monday vote on a proposal moderates from both sides of the aisle seem to support; it would keep federal government up and running until February 8. McConnell said, on camera, it is his intention, if this temporary re-open passes, to move ahead with legislation to address DACA, The Wall “and related issues” over which Republicans say Dems are holding government “hostage”.
Some TV journalists foamed over when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to ABC’s Good Morning America to suggest budget negotiations broke down because Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer does not understand how legislation works.
“I don’t know what’s confusing about that,” Sanders told George Stephanopoulos, after walking through her version of Trump’s position on immigration at that moment.
“I know that sometimes members like Senator Schumer need a little help and guidance getting through big policy negotiations like that,” she smirked.
As the government was grinding to a halt, Schumer likened dealing with the Trump White House to negotiating with jello.
Do you really want to be questioning Senator Schumer’s knowledge of this legislation?” Stephanopoulos asked Sanders, after she played her Schumer Is Confused/Needs Help card on GMA.
“Look, if he’s unclear about what the president has laid out then possibly,” Sanders replied, insisting, in the zippy exchange snatched up and replayed across the TV news landscape, that Trump has been crystal clear.
Except some Republicans have been describing the situation in terms similar to Schumer. Sen. Lindsey, for one, said on camera: “I’ve talked with the president. His heart is right on this issue. I think he’s got a good understanding of what will sell and every time we have a proposal it is yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating on immigration we’re going nowhere.”
Stephanopoulos asked Sanders why Trump did not hold bipartisan meetings at the White House over the weekend to lock down a deal and reopen the government, noting that’s what Reality-TV Star Trump called for when Obama was in office during the 2013 shutdown.
“Different circumstances call for a different type of leadership,” Sanders insisted. “He’s been incredibly engaged.”
“No meetings this weekend, Sarah,” Stephanopoulos corrected.
“He’s had a lot of meetings internally with staff,” Sanders replied, making Schumer, Graham, and Stephanopoulos’s point.
Over on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough tried shaming Trump into standing up to White House aid Stephen Miller, the 32 year-old “outlier” who, Scarborough descried, is leading Trump around by the nose.
The picture being painted around the world, Scarborough said, is of a “blubbery old stupid man…allowing a 32-year-old to lead him around by the nose and actually undercut him in negotiations with Senate leaders.”
“Would Barack Obama ever let a 32-year-old staff member undercut [him]?” Scarborough said. “Never. Barack Obama was a strong leader. What we have here is a weak, weak, uninformed leader. Michael Wolff was right.”
“He’s the President. If he can’t say ‘no’ to Stephen Miller, god help us,” chimed in Time contributing editor Jon Meacham.