In the clearest sign yet that Donald Trump has no concern for the hundreds of thousands of Americans hurt by a shuttered government, the White House is taking steps to prepare for a shutdown that could drag into April.
According to The Washington Post, “White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has pressed agency leaders to provide him with a list of the highest-impact programs that will be jeopardized if the shutdown continues into March and April, people familiar with the directive said.”
More from the report:
Mulvaney wants the list no later than Friday, these people said, and it’s the firmest evidence to date that the White House is preparing for a lengthy funding lapse that could have snowballing consequences for the economy and government services.
The request is the first known inquiry from a top White House official seeking information about the spreading impact of the shutdown, which has entered its fifth week and is the longest in U.S. history. So far, top White House officials have been particularly focused on lengthening wait times at airport security, but not the sprawling interruption of programs elsewhere in the government.
Senior OMB officials have tried to serve as a clearinghouse for agency leaders as they work to deal with the repercussions of the shutdown, but Mulvaney’s direct involvement reflects how the White House is now attempting to understand the longer-term implications. A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the directive, said it was an attempt by Mulvaney to have agency leaders focused on the problems that will arise if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill soon.
Trump doesn’t care how many people get hurt
To Donald Trump, this entire government shutdown fiasco is a reality show-style stunt. He is basking in the drama he has created.
But to the hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling to afford a mortgage or medication or food for their family, it’s not a game show or a ratings grab. In some cases, it’s the difference between life and death.
As the Washington Post noted, the longer this goes on, the bigger the strain is on TSA workers, in particular, who are already calling out sick in record numbers. It’s a trend that will likely worsen as the shutdown continues, putting airport security at risk.
In a statement put out by the leaders of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, they dropped a dire warning about the shutdown.
“In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” they said. “It is unprecedented.”
Not to mention the overall national security implications of a long-term shutdown. As Rachel Maddow noted this week, Trump’s insistence on keeping the federal closed could destroy the important work of the FBI.
“If you want to take a quick shiv to that whole part of the U.S. government, it’s easy,” Maddow said. “Just start taking away paychecks from all of those people all at once.”
On every level, the president’s shutdown over an unpopular border wall is hurting the country. The fact that the White House is preparing for a shutdown that could stretch into the spring is just further confirmation that Donald Trump couldn’t care less about the people he is supposed to serve.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.