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Gingrich on shutdown: Trump thinks he's winning

The Hill logo The Hill 1/21/2018 Josh Delk
Newt Gingrich wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) said Sunday that President Trump and the Republican Party think they're winning the blame game for shutting down the government, after the Senate failed to reach an agreement on spending Friday night.

Gingrich said both Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the Democratic Party had made a major mistake in opposing the Republican-backed spending bill over a legislative solution to extend amnesty to thousands of young undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

"This is not what the Democrats hoped for. And I think President Trump has played this pretty well," Gingrich told radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview. The former Speaker also commended Trump for his last minute meeting with Schumer in the White House to try to strike a deal to avoid the shutdown.

Gingrich, who weathered two government shutdowns over debates on budget and welfare reform while in office, panned the Democrats for harming the families of armed service members in the shutdown to protect non-citizens.

Without government appropriations, U.S. soldiers will not be paid during the shutdown. But with Democrats and Republicans deadlocked over legislation on immigration, it remains unclear when the government will reopen.

Democrats have pinned the blame on Trump and the GOP for the shutdown after pulling a funding extension for the Children's Health Insurance Program off the table during negotiations.

The former top House Republican, who said he is personally not opposed to amnesty for the young undocumented immigrants, said both Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly are both "determined" not to let Schumer have his way on the issue.

"The attitude right now in the administration is that they won't give [Schumer] anything because they think he has made a huge mistake," he said. "When the term, the Schumer shutdown, begins to catch on, you don't have any sense of people [in the Administration] who are inclined to back off."

Gingrich also told Catsimatidis that he predicted the Democrats would eventually cave in and tell Schumer "'We can't keep doing this.'"

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