Former President and 2024 hopeful Donald Trump delivers remarks at an event in Maquoketa, Iowa, on Sept. 20.
WASHINGTON ― Coup-attempting former President Donald Trump demanded that House Republicans use the looming threat of a government shutdown to “defund” the federal criminal prosecutions against him.
“Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the Country as Enemies of the State,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social media platform late Wednesday. “This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots.”
While Trump did not use the word “shutdown” in his post, he did call the coming end of the budget year on Sept. 30 “a very important deadline.”
The House has the power, at any time, to pass a bill that would remove funding for the special counsel investigating Trump, but has failed to even consider such a measure. A failure by Congress to pass an appropriations bill by the end of the month will lead to a partial government shutdown, including the possible furlough of federal workers.
“Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!” Trump wrote.
At least one of his top congressional allies took notice. Within an hour of Trump’s post, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) posted an image of it on the social media site X, still commonly known as Twitter, with the comment: “Trump Opposes the Continuing Resolution. Hold the line.”
Trump is under two federal criminal indictments. One is related to his attempts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election, which culminated in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his followers on Jan. 6, 2021. The other accuses him of illegally retaining top-secret documents at his Florida country club home and then refusing to turn them over despite a grand jury subpoena demanding he do so.
He also faces state charges in Georgia for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss there and in New York for allegedly falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star in the days before the 2016 election.
If convicted on the federal or Georgia charges, Trump could be sentenced to decades in prison. The potential punishment for the New York case is not as severe, and could possibly result in no prison time.
Trump pushed the government into a shutdown at the end of December 2018, after the GOP-led Congress refused to provide him with money for a wall along the southern border. He had promised during the 2016 campaign that he would force Mexico to pay for that project, but as president he never made any attempt to get that country to do so.
That shutdown ended after 34 days, when Trump gave up on forcing Congress to include wall funding in the spending bill and instead raided the Defense Department budget, using billions of dollars meant for such things as service member housing and schools to pay for border fencing instead.
After four years in office, Trump managed to build only 52 miles of new fence where there had not previously been any barrier, although replacement of existing barrier continued as it had under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.