The negotiations between Trump and the Democrats over immigration was not going too badly—and then Trump blew it up by calling the countries of African and Hispanic immigrants “shitholes.” This isn’t a small issue, and the government shutdown hinges on the Republicans and Democrats agreeing, but Trump seems determined to make sure there is a government shutdown, and he’s already prepping his attacks on Democrats, by using soldiers and military families as pawns:
Sadly, Democrats want to stop paying our troops and government workers in order to give a sweetheart deal, not a fair deal, for DACA. Take care of our Military, and our Country, FIRST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
However, the Democrats don’t run the federal government. That would be the Republicans.
“If there is a shutdown, it’s a very, very simple vote to make sure troops and veterans aren’t affected. The only reason for Donald Trump to not promise he’ll call for and sign such a bill is so he can hold troops and veterans for ransom,” says Will Fischer, an Iraq War veteran and VoteVets director of government relations. “His unwillingness to just say troops and veterans won’t be affected is causing real angst for military families. This guy should never be allowed to say he is pro-troop and pro-veteran again.”
There’s also no need to threaten military families. In 2013, the last time the Republicans forced a shutdown, President Barack Obama signed a bill ensuring that troops would be paid even if the government stopped functioning because of partisan politics.
That might be one of the most important differences between Obama and Trump. Obama supported the troops. Trump couldn’t care less about them.