Former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News commentator, predicted Sunday the partial government shutdown would continue at least through President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, and Republicans would be seen as the winners.
If the current partial shutdown continues through Friday, it would be the longest on the books. Chaffetz, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said he believes the shutdown would still be going on at that point, and would likely not end before President Trump gives his speech on January 29.
“I think the next pressure point is the State of the Union at the end of January. I think it will continue on to that point,” he said.
A quarter of the federal government is shut down right now, with about 800,000 government workers either working without pay or furloughed. The new Democratic-controlled House has passed a series of bills to provide funding for the government and end the shutdown, but President Trump is insisting any funding bills include more than $5 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but Democrats won’t budge.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall, but has flip-flopped and is now asking for taxpayer money. Trump has also repeatedly altered what he wants, moving from a wall to “steel slats” to a “barrier.” Republicans are trying to change the focus, trying to paint the wall as “border security.”
Chaffetz added he believes Republicans, and President Trump, will be viewed as the winners at that point.
“They’re on the right side of the argument. Protecting our borders is the right side of the argument,” he stated.
Chaffetz was also asked about how Sen. Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s character was playing in Utah.
“It was an unforced error. He is elected to represent the state of Utah,’ said Chaffetz. “It didn’t solve a problem. I think it was an unforced error. I don’t think it’s going to do anything to actually move the meter and accomplish things.”