President Trump has always been pretty cavalier about shutting down the government. Just go back a few years through his Twitter feed.
As a businessman, Trump provided almost daily commentary as the clock ticked toward the most recent shutdown, in 2013. When the government ultimately closed that year, on Oct. 1, Trump was a steady voice of support for Republicans, who sought to use the situation as leverage against the Affordable Care Act. He also played down the consequences of closing the government. “All essential services continue,” he wrote eight days before the shutdown in a tweet that earned all of 128 likes. “Don’t believe lies.”
Tracing Trump’s historical attitudes is instructive now that he has made clear that he’s willing to close down the government over funding for a border wall. Here is a narrated account of everything he’s ever tweeted about government shutdowns, including a foreboding take on whom voters will blame.
Trump first tweeted about the possibility of a shutdown on Aug. 9, 2013, the same day Washington leaders began to respond publicly to conservative lawmakers’ willingness to shut down the government over ACA funding. About 90 minutes after Trump tweeted, President Barack Obama called a shutdown a “bad idea” at a White House news conference. “No one is advocating a government shutdown,” then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said that day.
More than a month later, Trump began responding to shutdown news in earnest, urging on Republican lawmakers:
Here’s where he starts questioning the gravity of a potential shutdown:
Which he does again, less than 12 hours before the shutdown began:
On Oct. 1, the government shut down, and Trump was eager to weigh in:
We could see some very similar tweets from Trump if he follows through on his threat this time:
Seven days in, Trump suggests Obama should be working to end the shutdown:
A few hours later, he’s back to arguing it’s not a big deal:
This is one of Trump’s most interesting comments — one that could come back to haunt him if his instinct was right:
With that, Trump ended his commentary on the shutdown, which lasted nine more days.
He returned to the subject again as president, on a morning in April when the government was again on the verge of a shutdown. That week, he had already started to back down on two conflicts that could have resulted in the government closing: funding for a border wall and withholding premium subsidies under the ACA.
When he took to Twitter that morning, he wasn’t so friendly to the idea of a shutdown, and Democrats received much of the blame:
The next day, Congress approved a one-week spending bill, keeping the government open. Trump didn’t tweet about shutdowns again until May 2, when he said the country needed one: