Former RNC chair warns the shutdown is hurting Trump's party: 'A you-know-what storm for Republicans'
President Donald Trump has brought about the longest partial shutdown of the federal government in U.S. history, and after four and one-half weeks, roughly 800,000 federal workers still don’t know when they will be receiving their paychecks again. Some far-right Republicans are insisting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are to blame, but during a January 23 appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former National Republican Committee Chairman Michael Steele asserted that Republicans shouldn’t kid themselves—it is their party, not Democrats, that the public is blaming for the shutdown.
When Brzezinski asked Steele if Democrats in Congress were “under any pressure to cave here in any way,” Steele responded, “I still don’t see it. I don’t see where the Democrats have pressure on them, either within the process itself or with the public at the moment.”
Steele went on to say that “publicly, the people are still siding with the Democrats in terms of who they look at as the logjam here, who is to blame….. And the narrative is increasing, Mika. You’re seeing more and more stories coming out of the heartland of this country—out of those red states in this country—that are showing just how hard this is hitting.”
The former RNC chairman/ex-Maryland governor was critical of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who indicated in a radio interview this week that he wasn’t prepared to reopen the federal government by pushing for the 67 Senate votes that would be necessary to override a Trump veto of spending bills. Romney indicated that Senate Republicans would “follow the president’s lead on this.”
Steele told Brzezinski, “The comments of Mitt Romney—he talked about, ‘Well, you never know what’s going to be happening down the road.’ You’re down the road, buddy. This is about to hit like a you-know-what storm in a big way for Republicans.”
Later in the “Morning Joe” broadcast, Brzezinski spoke to Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who urged Pelosi and other House Democrats not to cave into Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Caving in, Brown stressed, would only encourage Trump to shut down the government again when he wants additional funds.
“We all know that if (Trump) gets the $5 billion, three months from now—whether it’s the debt ceiling, whether it’s another opportunity like this—he shuts the government down again,” Brown told Brzezinski. “This is a $30-billion wall. This is only $5 billion. So he’s going to keep doing this. We know that. So (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell’s gotta stand up and do his job and open the government—and we’ll all be there for him.”