Trump wants Republicans to shut down the government for his own benefit

Donald Trump is pushing congressional Republicans to shut down the US government in order to defund the string of investigations against him.

Mr Trump took to Truth Social on Thursday night, writing that “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,” he said.

“This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots. They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!”

His comments come as the US government is heading towards an imminent shutdown as Congress continues to come to blows on the nation’s spending.

Far-right Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene shared her support for Mr Trump’s comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“I have an amendment to defund political prosecutions by returning the power to Congress to control all funding of special counsels,” she said. “Right now the funding is under the authority of the DOJ, which is unconstitutional.”

Fellow die-hard Trump supporter Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida also chimed in: “Trump Opposes the Continuing Resolution. Hold the line.”

But, critics of Mr Trump slammed his comments.

Lawyer and former Florida Republican Ron Filipkowski, now a vocal critic of the GOP, wrote: “Trump tells House Republicans to shut down the government of the United States in an effort to obstruct his criminal prosecutions.”

California Democratic Representative and candidate for US Senate Adam Schiff, one of Mr Trump’s main antagonists during his time in the White House, tweeted: “Let’s be clear about what the former president is saying here. House Republicans should shut down the government unless the prosecutions against him are shut down.”

He added: “He would deny paychecks to millions of working families & devastate the US economy, all in the service of himself.”

Donald Trump wants Republicans to shutdown the government for his own benefit (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Donald Trump wants Republicans to shutdown the government for his own benefit (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Luke Zaleski, the legal affairs editor of Condé Nast, responded to Ms Greene’s comments, tweeting: “Marge is actively trying to cut the head off the department of Justice and their prosecution of the insurrectionists.”

“She is a traitor and a confederate soldier—not an American public servant—and a growing threat to the rule of law and a free and unified United States of America,” he added.

Mr Zaleski went on to say that: “Trump owns the House of Representatives! He controls the truly warped and demented wing of the Republican Party—Folks like Marge and Matt.

“And they’re gonna force a government shutdown to obstruct for Trump and make things worse for everyone. Trump’s extorting your vote, America”.

In response to Mr Gaetz’s “hold the line” comment, Mr Filipkowski said: “Democrats now need to call it exactly what it is now that the truth is out in the open - House Republicans refuse to fund the US government to protect Donald Trump.”

The Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent said: “‘Republicans are shutting down medical research and food safety inspection in order to ensure that the law doesn’t apply to Trump’ seems like a weak position for the GOP. Good to have Gaetz admitting to it so openly.’”

About Ms Greene’s proposed amendment, Mr Filipkowski said she’s “another Republican” admitting that they want “to shut down the US government to shield Donald Trump from prosecution”.

Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News noted: “Remember: Trump was at the wheel of the longest shutdown in U.S. history. He folded after 35 days, having exacted absolutely nothing.”

The journalist later added that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy commented on Mr Trump’s Truth Social outburst, saying, “Well, hold the line means go do all the appropriations bills. That’s what we’re working through”.

When told that that’s not what Mr Trump said, Mr McCarthy said that the investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith would carry on even if the government is shut down.

Mr Filipkowski added: “Thank you, Donald Trump for giving the game away. All the bloviating & posturing from House GOP that the negotiations are about the deficit, border, Ukraine, or other things is a smoke screen. The obstructionism is solely to protect Trump. Let them answer to the voters for that.”

The leader of the House Democrats, New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries, tweeted that: “Trump ordered House Republicans to shutdown the government. These people are too extreme to ever be trusted”.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Gaetz put the blame for the expected shutdown on Mr McCarthy, saying that “we will have a government shutdown and it is absolutely Speaker McCarthy’s fault”.

“We cannot blame Joe Biden for not having moved our individual spending bills. We cannot blame House Democrats. We can’t even blame Chuck Schumer in the Senate,” he said, according to Fox News.