Former President Donald Trump is urging Republicans to “defund all aspects” of President Joe Biden’s government, while incorrectly suggesting that a government shutdown would defund criminal proceedings against him.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has so far been unsuccessful in his attempt to unite moderate and hard-right Republicans to agree on a deal that could avert a shutdown ahead of the September 30 deadline. Some hardliners have vowed to not support any deal without concessions that would stand little chance of passing in the Senate or being signed by the president.
While negotiations are ongoing, Trump on Wednesday night warned his party in a Truth Social post that the showdown represented a “last chance” to defund “political prosecutions” against himself and “other Patriots.” Trump has pleaded not guilty to 91 felony charges this year, claiming to be the victim of “persecution” and “election interference.”
The former president also admonished Republicans for having “failed” earlier this year by agreeing to a deal to raise the debt limit. Before a deal on the debt ceiling was reached, Trump had urged Republicans to refuse to budge on demands for massive spending cuts, even if the demands resulted in the country defaulting on its debt.
“A very important deadline is approaching at the end of the month,” Trump wrote on Wednesday. “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.”
“This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots,” he continued. “They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!”
Newsweek reached out for comment to McCarthy’s office via email on Wednesday night.
While Trump demanded that Republicans in Congress orchestrate an end to his legal woes, a government shutdown would not in any way defund Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office or any of the current four different criminal proceedings against the former president, two of which are in state courts.
Republicans could attempt to force legislation to specifically defund aspects of Trump’s federal prosecutions, although such an attempt would be extremely unlikely to succeed due to the Senate being controlled by Democrats and Biden needing to approve any bill that does pass.
Trump and his allies in Congress have railed against the supposed “weaponization” of government since it became apparent that the former president could face criminal charges.
Some of the criminal probes that would lead to charges against Trump began around the time that Biden took office in January 2021, although there is no evidence that the president played any role in the investigations.
Earlier this month, McCarthy launched a House impeachment inquiry into Biden, which was widely seen as a concession to meet the demands of MAGA Republicans and potentially reach an agreement to avert a shutdown.