US President Donald Trump has drawn rebuke from his supporters and Republican pundits on the hard right after dropping – at least for now – his demand for Congress to fund a wall on the US-Mexico border.
The Republican leader wanted the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to approve $5.7bn for the wall in return for signing off a bill funding federal agencies.
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Trump’s refusal to approve the bill unless the Democrats yielded to his demands, resulted in the longest government shutdown in US history, at 35 days-long.
Despite initial promises to stand his ground, Trump finally signed a bill late on Friday that ensured the government would be funded until February 15.
The shutdown had resulted in around 800,000 federal workers going without paycheques.
Since the start of his campaign in 2015, the US president has vowed to introduce strong anti-immigration measures, pleasing many on the US right and far-right.
Chief among those pledges was a wall at the southern border to keep out – what Trump called – “drug dealers”, “rapists”, and “bad hombres”.
Friday’s decision left many of his most ardent supporters on the right angry and wondering whether he was the man to push through their agenda.
Chief among the critics was anti-immigration pundit Ann Coulter, who called the president a wimp on Twitter.
“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” Coulter wrote.
Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 25, 2019
Far-right activists Mike Cernovic and Paul Joseph Watson also chimed in, with the former calling Trump “a broken man” and the latter declaring his base was in “complete meltdown”.
— David Lytle (@davitydave) January 25, 2019
In the aftermath of his announcement to end the shutdown, Trump sought to assure supporters that the move was a temporary measure and that deadlock would resume if Republicans and Democrats did not come to an agreement by February.
“I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!” He wrote on Twitter.
I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2019
Prominent Democrats meanwhile took to Twitter to celebrate the end of the shutdown and express their determination to stop any repeat in the near future.
California congressman Adam Schiff called on fellow legislators to ensure the tactic was not used in the future.
“We need to take action to end “shutdowns” as a tactic, once and for all,” he wrote.
After inflicting enormous suffering on federal employees and those who depend on government services, the President is finally reopening the government with the same deal that was on the table in December.
We need to take action to end “shutdowns” as a tactic, once and for all.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 25, 2019