Kellyanne Conway: President Trump ‘doesn’t own the shutdown any longer’

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway argued that President Trump no longer bears responsibility for the current stalemate that's resulted in the closure of approximately a fourth of the federal government, impacting 800 thousand federal workers.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway argued that President Trump no longer bears responsibility for the current stalemate that’s resulted in the closure of approximately a fourth of the federal government, impacting 800 thousand federal workers.

JORDYN PHELPS, ABC NEWS|AIWA! NO!|President Trump and the White House are seeking to shift blame for the partial government shutdown after Trump said last month he would be proud to own a shutdown in order to secure funding he has demanded to build a southern border wall.

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway argued that President Trump no longer bears responsibility for the current stalemate that’s resulted in the closure of approximately a fourth of the federal government, impacting 800 thousand federal workers.

“He doesn’t own the shutdown any longer,” Conway said when asked if the president regrets his past statement willingly taking the blame.President Trump: Prepared to continue shutdown for ‘as long as it takes’

Conway argued that because the House of Representatives passed a package last month that included the president’s requested $5.6 billion in funding, the buck now passes to the Senate.

“He doesn’t own the shutdown any longer. The House voted, the House did its job. The House passed a 5.6 billion border security funding, and it’s not just for a wall it’s for border security, and now the Senate has to do its job,” Conway said.

But the $5.6 measure that passed the House was dead on arrival in the Senate, and therefore stood no realistic chance of ever reaching the president’s desk.Faces of the shutdown: In second week, more people impacted by closed agencies

In his latest argument in placing blame on Democrats’ shoulders, President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the shutdown could be explained by the 2020 presidential election and Democratic efforts to stall his administration, citing it as an example of “presidential harassment.”

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of “Trump,” so they are going all out on the desperately needed Wall and Border Security – and Presidential Harassment. For them, strictly politics!79.2K2:44 PM – Jan 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy54.6K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Democrats deny that their motives are political in the current stalemate over funding the government but are instead about their firm opposition to funding the president’s desired border wall. And with the Democrats set to formally take control of the House Thursday, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D – Calif., said the House plans to vote on votes for two alternative bills that would reopen the government and once had the backing of Republican senators.

“Our question to the president and to the Republicans is, why don’t you accept what you have already done to open up government, and that enables us to have 30 days to negotiate for border security?” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked Wednesday following a meeting with President Trump at the White House.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump leads a meeting of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Jan. 2, 2019.
President Donald Trump leads a meeting of his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Jan. 2, 2019.

“Democrats have been committed to protecting our borders. It’s the oath of office we take to protect and defend. It has been very important to us, and we have committed resources to it.”

The first bill they’re planning to vote on includes year-long funding plans for every government agency currently closed, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security.

The second bill would reopen and fund DHS through Feb. 8 and continue current funding of $1.3 billion for border security.

“We asked him to give us one good reason — I asked him directly. I said, Mr. President, ‘give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown of the eight cabinet departments while we are debating our differences on homeland security?’ He could not give a good answer. So we would hope that they would reconsider and would support the very bills that pass the Senate,” said Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

The White House has countered that the Democrat-proposed bills are non-starters, because they fail to satisfy the president’s demand on border security funding. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t bring a bill to the floor of the Senate that does not have the backing of the president.

ABC News’ Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.

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