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18 Jan, 2018 21:55

Trump dumps on Dems, uses Pentagon in shutdown blame game

Trump dumps on Dems, uses Pentagon in shutdown blame game

President Donald Trump said Democrats would bear responsibility for endangering the US military should Congress be unable to pass a short-term resolution to continue funding the government.

“We’re just here to support the general and all of the generals. We’re here to support our country’s military,” Trump said outside the Pentagon on Thursday. “If the country shuts down, which could very well be, the budget should be handled a lot differently than it’s been handled over the last long period of time -- many years. But if for any reason it shuts down, the worst thing is what happens to our military.”

Earlier in the day Trump had tweeted “A government shutdown will be devastating to our military...something the Dems care very little about!”

When reporters asked whether a government shutdown was imminent and who would be responsible if it happens, Trump replied, “Could happen. We’ll see what happens. It’s up to to the Democrats.”

The White House later issued a clarification of the president’s remarks.

"The President supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House. Congress needs to do its job and provide full funding of our troops and military with a two year budget caps deal. However, as the deal is negotiated, the President wants to ensure our military and national security are funded. He will not let it be held hostage by Democrats," said the statement, issued by by deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

Trump also seemed to undermine his own party line on shutdown talks, tweeting that funding for the children’s health insurance program (CHIP) “should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!”

Trump was at the Pentagon to meet with senior military officials in advance of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ release of the new National Defense Strategy.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said he was optimistic could pass a short-governing funding resolution before the deadline on Friday night, which would fund the government through February 16.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told reporters that House Democrats would vote against it, because it didn’t not contain a compromise on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

She was confident that any blame for the shutdown would fall on Republicans because they have majorities in both houses.

"I think the public knows that the Congress of the United States has a Republican majority," she said, according to Inside Defense.

Republicans currently hold 238 of the 435 seats in the House, while Democrats have 193.