The U.S. president agrees to a Senate bill that will fund government agencies for the next three weeks.
After 35 days, President Donald Trump has yielded. On Friday, Trump announced that he will support a bill to temporarily fund the government and end the partial shutdown of federal agencies, the longest in the country’s history, and a catastrophic mess that has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans. The Senate approved a deal that includes a resolution to fund agencies for the next three weeks, a measure that will give some breathing space to the 800,000 government employees who have already missed two paychecks. Meanwhile, the political battle for the border wall goes on. Trump’s consent to the temporary funding bill comes during monumental chaos at airports across the East Coast, where delays are piling up due to a lack of air traffic controllers.
Trump thanked federal workers for their patience, calling them “fantastic people and incredible patriots,” but did not hesitate to lie about their attitude during the shutdown. “Not only did you not complain, but in many cases you encouraged me to keep going because you care so much about our country and about its border security.” However, the truth is entirely different. Federal workers protested and rallied on several occasions, while various government agencies were up in arms to denounce the situation resulting from staffing shortages and lack of funding, from the FBI to the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and airport security, precisely the organizations that are presumably more supportive of the president.
Lack of Respect
In the past few days, Trump’s own administration officials warned about the risks that the shutdown has created for the country’s security and condemned the lack of respect for their work on the part of the political class. “I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. His agency has run out of money for gas and tires, is unable to pay informants, and has been forced to put terror-related and child trafficking investigations on hold due to a staff shortage.
These problems have even snarled departures at New Jersey’s Newark Airport. Like many others, it was affected by the thousands of furloughed air traffic controllers and security officers in charge of monitoring departure gates. Flight delays have become the norm for the entire Atlantic coast, a fact that has certainly served to defeat Trump’s maximalist gambit. But there are other factors. According to the latest Washington Post poll, almost 60 percent of Americans blame the president for the shutdown. By announcing the agreement today, he managed to change the course of the conversation, which on Friday focused on the arrest of Roger Stone, one of his closest associates during the 2016 presidential election.
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