File photos: Bloomberg photo by Al Drago.

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

President Donald Trump had hoped to spend the weekend celebrating the one-year anniversary of his inauguration amid friends at his opulent Palm Beach, Florida, estate. Instead, he’s facing a government shutdown.

Trump scrapped plans to depart Friday for his Mar-a-Lago club, where he’d been set to attend a high-dollar fundraiser Saturday night to commemorate his first year in office.

Instead, he spent the afternoon in the Oval Office, trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He spent the evening in the White House residence, watching television and calling up friends, insisting Democrats would be blamed if the federal government shut down at midnight, according to a person familiar with the president’s conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Elsewhere in the White House, the press offices had emptied out even before the Senate had voted on — and failed to pass — a short-term funding bill.

While White House aides did not respond to questions, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters he didn’t expect Trump to go to Florida Saturday.

“No, I don’t,” he said. “I think the president’s been very clear: He’s not leaving until this is finished.”

But the timing was undeniably unfortunate for a president trying to steer the conversation away from controversy and back to his first-year accomplishments.

“We hope that everyone comes together and keeps the government open,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters moments before Schumer left the White House after meeting with Trump on Friday.

Trump was originally scheduled to attend a “Trump Victory Dinner” Saturday night at Mar-a-Lago, with proceeds going to a joint fundraising committee for his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee. That was up in the air as the budget negotiations dragged on.

If a deal isn’t reached by midnight, the reverberations will be felt across Washington, all over the nation — and within the White House residence.

According to federal stipulations, just 21 of the 96 members of the White House residential staff would report to duty on any day of a shutdown.

“Essentially, our core group of residence staff would still report to work to ensure that basic services are still provided to the first family,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump.

Electricians and engineers would also report for duty “to ensure the safety of the facilities in the mansion,” Grisham said.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report. Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Student Voice: Saanich students launch competitive robotics team

The Reynolds Reybots plan to share their skills with middle schools

WATCH: Medieval fighters train in Colwood

Fighters are gearing up for world championships in medieval combat

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read