President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he had reached a deal with congressional Democrats to reopen the government for three weeks, setting up an apparent end—at least temporarily—to the longest shutdown in American history.
The deal notably does not include Trump’s key demand to fund a border wall. But he added that, if he doesn’t get the wall in the next three weeks, the government could shut down all over again, or he would declare a national emergency to fund the wall.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15—again—or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
It’s quite possible that the White House and Congress will just argue, finger-point, and generally grandstand before the government shuts down once more, and we’re back to where we started from all over again.
Though Trump won’t be getting his wall for now, he went on one of his rambling defenses of it—and of walls in general—in his speech. “It’s just common sense,” he said. “Walls work.” He also talked at great length about the supposed threat of migrant caravans, the “humanitarian crisis” on the southern border, and the valor of his immigration officers.
Trump thanked federal workers for continuing to do their jobs during the shutdown, and claimed, dubiously, that many had told him they wanted him to keep it going. He said they would get back pay quickly. He also paid tribute to everyone in America, saying, “You are very very special people.”
Shortly before the president spoke on Friday, airports along the East Coast—particularly New York’s LaGuardia airport—experienced a cascade of delays prompted by a shortage of furloughed air traffic employees, a sign that the ongoing shutdown had begun to have a serious impact on the day-to-day operations of one of the country’s largest industries.
Update, 3:15 p.m. ET: It’s all happening fast.
Sure, OK, we’ll see.