Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized GOP members of the House of Representatives for not passing a crucial budget deal instead of threatening the White House with a government shutdown.
During a Nov. 28 campaign rally in Sarasota, Florida, the business mogul jested that Republican members of Congress are “horrible poker players,” reports Business Insider.
Both the House and Senate passed a comprehensive budget deal in late October 2015, days before hitting the debt ceiling, which would have prompted the U.S. to default. The deal was largely cut by retiring House Speaker John Boehner, who acted to ensure that his successor, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, wouldn’t have to deal with the prospect of a government shutdown, Business Insider reports.
“I like Boehner as a person,” says Trump, according to Business Insider. “He’s a nice guy. But … I heard Boehner before he left say there’s no way to close up government. That means the other side just won.”
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Trump argues that the GOP must use the threat of a government shutdown to intimidate Democrats in Congress and President Barack Obama.
“Because if you don’t have that at least as a threat, you can’t do anything,” says Trump, according to Business Insider. “And they got nothing! You got to say, ‘We’re going to close it. We’re going to close it.’ You’ve got the scare them.”
Trump’s comments arrive during a period when House Republicans are actually threatening a government shutdown. While the budget plan passed in October avoided a debt default, congress has until Dec. 11 to pass a bill that will continue funding the federal government, Politico reports.
While Obama has threatened to veto the bill if GOP lawmakers attach ultimatums to the legislation, Republicans plan on doing exactly that. Republicans have already hinted they plan on tagging legislation onto the bill that Obama is opposed to, such as dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency and Planned Parenthood, loosening campaign finance laws and pausing the current plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees within the year, Politico reports.
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Republican members of Congress have indicated they are ready for an ugly battle over the Dec. 11 bill.
“England didn’t hand the U.S. our freedom; it had to be fought for,” Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas told Breitbart News. “It will require a dedicated fight and will, likewise, be worth the fight.”
While Republicans are mounting a tense standoff with the president, Trump still insists they are too afraid to really follow through on a government shutdown. Trump argues that history will forgive any damage done by such a measure.
“By the way, in 50 years from now, nobody is going to know about Boehner or Ryan or any of these guys if the government closes down for a while,” says Trump, according to Business Insider. “They’re going to know about Barack Hussein Obama. That’s who they’re going to know about. They’re going to be thinking about, ‘Obama really blew it.’”