WH Changes Public Voicemail To Blame Democrats, Flake Doesn’t Want Trump Involved In Discussions: Report
The White House public comment line wasn’t working on Sunday, and people who called the number were told it’s the Democrats’ fault.
The White House’s public comment telephone line isn’t accepting calls amid the ongoing government shutdown, and its recently updated recorded message blames it on Democrats.
The comment line is supposed to allow citizens a chance to leave a voice message for the President. But callers on Sunday were greeted by these recorded words:
“Thank you for calling the White House. Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate.”
“Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down,” it continues. “In the meantime, you can leave a comment for the president at www.whitehouse.gov/contact. We look forward to taking your calls as soon as the government reopens.”
The call then disconnects.
The move has been criticized by Democrats and centrist Republicans, including Arizona Senator Jeff Flake who pointed out Donald Trump’s lack of leadership and said it doesn’t help for the President to be a part of the discussion on the government shutdown.
“I just don’t think it helps for him to be involved at all,” he said. “The White House really hasn’t been involved from what I’ve seen,” the Republican Senator said, CNN reports. “Our hope is to pass something in the Senate that then gets the President’s support.”
On Sunday, there was little to indicate Trump was taking a leading role in helping break the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans. He did not appear in public. He hasn’t taken a meeting at the White House since Friday.
And his only tweet of the day, calling for an end to the Senate filibuster, was roundly rejected by Republican congressional leaders.
It was a remarkable position for a President who entered office vowing to use skills honed in the real estate world to broker deals for the country. Instead of negotiating his own way out of the quagmire, Trump seemed to be hiding in his third-floor perch at the White House.
Whether the shutdown amounts to a political victory for Trump —or a dire miscalculation— remains an open question. But the majority of Americans are pinting fingers at Trump and the Republicans for the budget impasse.