The three-day-long government shutdown ended Monday, sparking accusations from mainstream media reporters and liberal activists that Democrats caved on immigration reform.
Senate Democrats originally forced a shutdown by refusing to support a spending bill. They were upset that it did not address the roughly 700,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and were protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
But on Monday, lawmakers reached a deal to keep the government funded through Feb. 8.
In return, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that Republicans in the upper chamber intend “to take up legislation … that would address DACA, border security and related issues, as well as disaster relief,” according to ABC News.
But many reporters — as well as liberal activists — seemed to think Democrats had caved on DACA far too easily.
For example, a Monday headline from The Washington Post promised to tell readers why Democrats “lost their nerve” in the shutdown battle. The article stated that Democrats lost their will, partly due to the fact that “most voters do not want to see the government shut down over immigration.”
On social media, reporters agreed that Democrats had given in to Republicans demands.
“Democrats caved in 72 hours with 800,000 dreamers at risk,” tweeted Shaun King, an advocacy journalist for The Intercept. “Democrats lack a backbone. Just shameful.”
According to New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum, Democrats “surrendered.”
George Zornick of The Nation said Democrats had “cave(d) in exchange for nothing.”
“If this was always Senate Democrats’ exit strategy – cave in exchange for nothing – they should have just provided the 8 votes on Friday,” Zornick wrote.
Matt Viser, the deputy Washington bureau chief for the Boston Globe, who also serves as a CNN political analyst, noted that “all at once,” Democrats gave in to Republicans, “demoralized their base,” handed President Donald Trump a “win” and held a “meaningless” shutdown.
Liberal activists, meanwhile, were infuriated by what they saw as a capitulation on the part of Democrats.
Republicans, especially Trump, seemed to agree with the narrative that Democrats “caved.”
Not long after lawmakers reached a compromise to end the shutdown, an email sent to supporters from Trump’s re-election campaign indicated Democrats had “caved” in the face of intense pressure.
“You are the reason our government is back open,” the email told the supporters. The subject line of the message claimed that “Democrats CAVED.”
Later, Trump took to Twitter to tout a “big win for Republicans.”
“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown,” he wrote.
“Now I want a big win for everyone, including Republicans, Democrats and DACA, but especially for our Great Military and Border Security. Should be able to get there. See you at the negotiating table!”
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