Allies of President Trump are growing increasingly concerned about the political impact of the partial government shutdown, which has now entered its fifth week.
Trump evinces confidence that he will prevail in the battle to secure funding for the southern border wall he promised at almost every opportunity during his 2016 campaign.
But even some veterans of his own White House aren’t sure he fully grasps the odds he faces.
“The president jumped without looking first,” said one former White House official. “And can you imagine the humiliation the president would bring on himself if he caved and got little or nothing in return?”
Trump could yet reframe the whole debate when he makes a new statement on the crisis, scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday. So far, he has held fast to his insistence that he wants $5.7 billion in funding for a border well. Democrats have been adamant that they will not give it to him. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called the concept of a border wall an “immorality.”
The dispute took on a more personal — and petty — tone in recent days.
Pelosi made a power play by writing to Trump suggesting he postpone — or deliver in writing — his State of the Union address, currently scheduled for Jan. 29.
Trump hit back on Thursday, revoking permission at the last minute for Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers to use military planes for a scheduled trip to Belgium and Afghanistan. Trump suggested the Speaker and her party colleagues could use commercial planes to travel overseas if they wished.
The acrimony only increased on Friday, as Pelosi canceled the trip outright, with her aides accusing the White House of having fueled security concerns by leaking the details of the trip.