President Donald Trump tried a new tack Thursday morning in his ongoing standoff with Congress over border wall funding — a demand that has resulted in a partial government shutdown currently in its sixth day.
In an early morning tweet, Trump suggested that the bulk of federal government workers affected by the shutdown are Democrats, a claim for which he offered no evidence.
Trump continued to insist on Twitter that the government can't re-open until Democrats agree on the $5 billion he has demanded for his proposed border wall. But this time, he added, "Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?"
About 380,000 federal employees have been furloughed, and 400,000 more have been forced to work without pay, because of the shutdown, which began when Trump refused to sign a stopgap spending bill that didn't contain the $5 billion he wants for his border wall, per ABC News.
As The Week’s Brendan Morrow noted, Trump’s assertion that most of the federal workers affected are Democrats could be in service of convincing Democratic lawmakers to give in to his demands, an attempt to belittle the plight of those workers struggling financially in the midst of his shutdown — or both.
Trump had previously attempted to pin the shutdown on Democrats, despite previously pledging he would take the blame for it. "I am proud to shut down the government for border security," Trump told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Dec. 11. "I will be the one to shut it down."
The president has since changed his tune, taking numerous opportunities to blame Democrats for the shutdown.