White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday the current government shutdown was different than the one that occurred in 2013 because then-President Barack Obama wanted a closure to hurt Republicans.
“I will look you in the eye and tell you President Obama wanted that shutdown. Wanted to weaponize it. He wanted to use it politically to hurt Republicans because he thought Republicans would get blamed politically,” Mulvaney told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t think anybody could say that [President Donald Trump] wants the [current] shutdown. You could not say the same thing about President Obama.”
Mulvaney’s comment ignored that the 2013 shutdown was caused by Republicans who refused to support funding for the Affordable Care Act. That effort was led by the far-right House Freedom Caucus, of which Mulvaney ― then a South Carolina congressman ― was a key member. In 2013, Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, while Democrats controlled the Senate and White House. Republicans now control both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Trump also has repeatedly expressed explicit support for a government shutdown. In 2013, he said Republicans shouldn’t be afraid to shut down the government over Obamacare. And as president, The Washington Post reported that Trump told confidants a shutdown could be good for him politically.
He has also repeatedly expressed frustration over needing 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate, and tweeted in May that the U.S. might need a good “shutdown” to fix the way that chamber works. His son, Eric Trump, on Saturday said the shutdown is a “good thing for us.”
Wallace pointed out it was the president’s responsibility to lead and get lawmakers from both parties to negotiate during a government shutdown, and that Trump hasn’t convened such a session since the closure began early Saturday morning. Mulvaney responded that Trump held bipartisan meetings with lawmakers ahead of the shutdown.