As the partial government shutdown continues into its 12th day, President Donald Trump held a cabinet meeting on Wednesday where he stood by his border wall demands, insisting that he’ll keep the government closed “as long as it takes” and again complained that he spent Christmas Eve “by myself in the White House.”
In a session with the Cabinet and reporters that lasted nearly two hours, Trump gave few details on how he plans to end the shutdown that has hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay. Trump is demanding that taxpayers hand over $5 billion dollars for his long-promised border that he promised to get Mexico to pay for.
Trump falsely claimed that he essentially “fired” former Secretary of Defense James Mattis after initially insisting that Mattis had retired. Mattis, in fact, issued a scathing resignation letter that was critical of the president’s military approach, writing that he felt the president deserves a defense secretary who views the world like he does.
The president also attacked incoming Sen. Mitt Romney, who wrote an op-ed criticizing the president Tuesday night. Trump said he was “surprised” at Romney’s op-ed, but hopes he’s a “team player.”
“If he fought really hard against President Obama like he does against me, he would have won the election,” Trump said.
Trump also complained about how lonely he was during the holidays at the White House waiting for Democrats to come back and negotiate with him.
“I was here on Christmas evening, I was all by myself in the White House. That’s a big, big house,” Trump told reporters. “Except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns…I was waving to them. I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life. Secret Service and military, these are great people. And they don’t play games, they don’t like wave. They don’t even smile. But I was there all alone with the machine gunners and I felt very safe Ben… I was hoping that maybe somebody would come back and negotiate.”
TRUMP on his lonely holidays at the White House: "I was here on Christmas evening, I was all by myself in the White House. That's a big, big house. Except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns… I was hoping that maybe somebody would come back and negotiate." pic.twitter.com/cHDlHgbyMi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 2, 2019
Trump released a New Year’s Eve video appearing to bemoan the fact that he was not able to attend a lavish year-end party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“While I’m at the White House working, you’re out there partying tonight,” Trump said. “But I don’t blame you. Enjoy yourselves, we’re going to have a great year, have a really, really happy New Year,” he added.
Trump on Christmas Eve complained in a tweet that he was “all alone (poor me)” in the White House and was “waiting for the Democrats to come back” to end the shutdown.