As hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees continue to go without paychecks and life-or-death services grind to a halt, a bunch of large 5-year-olds in ill-fitted suits are playing the blame game over how we’ve come to witness the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history.
On Thursday afternoon, Republican senators and Mike Pence gathered for a private luncheon, according to the Washington Post. It was a tense event, to say the least: The politicians reportedly butted heads and interrupted one another while arguing over who could stop the partial federal shutdown. “This is your fault,” Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at one point, according to the Post’s account.
In response, McConnell retorted, “Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?”
The confrontations preceded the Senate vote on its first two competing funding bills to reopen the government, both of which ultimately failed. So emotions were running high at the exclusive lunch. (And presumably after the vote, given that six Republican senators signed the Democratic bill.)
Texas senator John Cornyn told reporters after the lunch that “nobody was blaming the president” — even though his administration is basically holding the government hostage until it gets border wall funding — but according to Republicans who spoke anonymously to the Post, senators who want to make Trump happy, but who are also tired of getting yelled at by Democrats and their constituents, were pretty worked up over it all.
At another point, North Carolina senator Thom Tillis interrupted Utah senator Mitt Romney while he was explaining while he’d be voting for both bills, provoking Romney to “snap back.” One Republican senator even reportedly confronted Pence, saying, “The shutdown needs to come to an end — this is not a strategy that works. We never should have had a shutdown in the first place.” And though sources told the Post that arguments didn’t get out of hand, Cornyn said of the luncheon, “There was a lot of frustration expressed about the situation we find ourselves in.”
Anyway … Everything’s fine! Feeling optimistic about a resolution!