Donald Trump has urged Democrats to “loosen up” as Washington stares down a fast approaching funding deadline that could thrust the US government into yet another damaging shutdown.
In a series of tweets, the president insulted his colleagues in Congress as “self righteous” and claimed their opposition to his administration’s controversial policy of detaining asylum seekers arriving at the border is “crazy”.
“The Democrats are so self righteous and ANGRY! Loosen up and have some fun. The Country is doing well!” Mr Trump said in one tweet.
“The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens!” Mr Trump said in another, falsely equivocating asylum seekers and migrants with criminals. “This is a brand new demand. Crazy!”
The comments were sent as a part of a series of tweets responding to news of the day, including one in which he once again disputed the assumption that he does not have a full working schedule after leaks showed he spent roughly 60 per cent of his time over a three month span in unstructured “executive time”.
“No president ever worked harder than me,” Mr Trump tweeted.
Mr Trump’s calls for a relaxed Democratic Party come just days before the federal government is set to shut down unless politicians in Washington can agree to funding that would extend a deal reached last month after the longest shutdown in US history.
That shutdown left hundreds of thousands of federal workers reeling, with two missed pay cheques. Many were forced to work without pay during that time, while others were simply told to stay home. Government contract workers were also hit by the absence of funding.
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That shutdown was ended just over two weeks ago after Mr Trump capitulated to Democratic demands, signing a three week deal even though he received none of the $5.7bn in border wall funding he predicated the shutdown on.
Talks to keep the government open appeared to stall over the weekend, with individuals involved in the negotiations saying that the two sides had come to a stand still.
The two sides had reportedly discussed approving between $1.3bn and $2bn in border security funding, but were unable to agree to a figure and Democrats had pushed back on any more money.
Meanwhile, adding to the difficulties for negotiators was a Democratic demand to limit the number of unauthorized immigrants who can be detained by the US at any given time.