President Donald Trump called on House Republicans negotiating a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown to use the opportunity to defund what he described as "political prosecutions" against him and other individuals who are being targeted by the Department of Justice.
"A very important deadline is approaching at the end of the month. Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the Country as Enemies of the State," the former president stated on social media. "This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots."
President Trump also made reference to congressional negotiations on raising the debt limit earlier this year, saying that Republicans "failed" but "must not fail now." Those Republicans, he argued, have to "use the power of the purse to defend" the United States.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has previously confirmed that activities funded by "permanent indefinite appropriations" would continue during any funding lapse, including the Trump prosecutions. The former president, meanwhile, faces state charges in Georgia and New York, which would not be affected by a federal shutdown.
Funding NegotiationsThe former president faces two federal trials, one tied to his activity after the 2020 election and the other over how he allegedly mishandled classified documents. As the GOP front runner for the 2024 election, President Trump has denied all wrongdoing and accused the DOJ and Biden administration of targeting him to prevent him from seeking the presidency.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have been at odds over how to proceed with spending legislation, which has to be passed before Oct. 1 to avoid a partial shutdown of the government. A small number of House Republicans have said they disagree with the plan proposed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as he pushes for short-term funding.
After President Trump's comment on Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has opposed Mr. McCarthy's plan, wrote on social media that "Trump opposes the continuing resolution" to keep the government funding. "Hold the line," he added.
If Mr. McCarthy doesn't get his caucus to back his plan, he would have to make concessions to some Democrat lawmakers to avoid a shutdown. That's something Mr. Gaetz said would cost the House speaker dearly.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) wrote on X this week that "Trump ordered House Republicans to shutdown the government. These people are too extreme to ever be trusted."
Days before his social media plea, President Trump was asked by NBC's Kristen Welker about whether he supports a government shutdown and if Republicans should back Mr. McCarthy's plan.
Republicans Hold Out Against McCarthyThe plea from the former president comes as Mr. McCarthy vowed Wednesday to keep negotiating to persuade his GOP colleagues to pass a temporary spending package. The Republican speaker met behind closed doors with his colleagues for another day of talks before saying he still had time.
“It’s not September 30—the game is not over,” the GOP House speaker told reporters. “We’re very close there,” he added. “I feel like I just got a little more movement to go there.”
On Tuesday, a group of five House Republicans from the Freedom Caucus joined with Democrats to prevent consideration of a defense bill. It would provide pay raises for the troops and other measures, but some Republicans say they want a broader discussion on spending cuts in non-defense-related budgets.
Mr. McCarthy set up a do-over vote for Thursday as he tries for a third time to advance the defense bill after winning over two of the hard-right Republicans who were holding out for a commitment from the speaker on spending cuts elsewhere.
“It’s a tough job and keeping all of these members appeased is next to impossible,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark) on Wednesday. Regarding Mr. McCarthy, he said, “He’s doing the best he can, but we have to give him a hand to play.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a warning to House Republicans on Tuesday that a government shutdown would harm the GOP.
"I think all of you know I’m not a fan of government shutdowns. I’ve seen a few of them over the years, they never have produced a policy change and they’ve always been a loser for Republicans, politically,” he told reporters.