If ever there were a time for a dealmaker in Washington, this weekend was it. Friday, as a shutdown loomed, it seemed as though Republicans and Democrats would be able to reach some accommodation to fund the government, but in the wake of that failure, the mood turned bitter over the weekend.
With leaders in Congress at an impasse, the most logical person to step in and broker an arrangement was the president of the United States. That’s usually the case, but it’s especially true now, with a president whose name, thanks to his first book, is practically synonymous with deals. And yet, Donald Trump remained strangely absent. Oh, sure, the president was tweeting, but he offered mostly uncharacteristically bland restatements of the White House line that it was all Democrats’ fault. After meeting with Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Friday, Trump stayed largely on the sidelines.
Late Monday morning, leaders of Congress struck a deal to reopen the government, without any apparent help from Trump—though the deal is only a short-term agreement, and resolves none of the issues that sparked the shutdown in the first place, setting up the prospect of a similar shutdown in the near future.
The deal was struck between Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines,” Schumer said on Monday, as he announced the arrangement, accusing Trump of being unwilling to “take yes for an answer.”