Two years before he was elected President of the United States, Donald Trump hinted that riots and societal breakdown were what was needed to make the country great.
In an interview with Fox & Friends in February of 2014, Trump was asked to comment on a Congressional Budget Office report about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that predicted a drop in total hours worked as it would mean lower-income workers would lose their health coverage as a result. However, Trump and the Fox & Friends hosts spun the report’s findings to commiserate about how that would lead to economic collapse.
Eventually, two minutes into the interview, Trump opined about what he believed would be inevitable if the country continued on its current course.
“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have a (laughing) you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great,” Trump said.
While the interview took place nearly five years ago, it jibes with President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” catchphrase, and eerily meshes with his recent comments about the government shutdown.
On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that in their private discussions, Trump told him that he was willing to keep the federal government shut down for months or even years if that was what it took for Congress to appropriate money for his border wall. Trump then confirmed he said that, according to MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin.
Trump confirms the Schumer quote that he said in the meeting that the shutdown could go on for "months or even years."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 4, 2019
The shutdown, as Grit Post has previously reported, has resulted in widespread economic harm for hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are on furlough with no end to the shutdown in sight.
The office providing WIC benefits (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is effectively closed, meaning roughly eight million pregnant and nursing women, as well as millions of children and babies, won’t be able to count on WIC for food. And while federal workers are unable to make rent and mortgage payments, the Trump administration is suggesting workers offer to barter with their landlords and banks in order to pay rent.
One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s first actions was passing a bill through the House that would re-open the government without funding for Trump’s border wall, which the president has already indicated he would not sign. At least two Senate Republicans — Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine — want to pass the House bill in order to reopen the government. If enough Senate Republicans call for the passage of the House bill, it could create the political will for Trump to sign the bill without funding for his chief campaign promise.
While there aren’t riots yet, the situation grows more dire by the day for out-of-work federal employees, who wouldn’t even see another paycheck until the end of January even if Congress and President Trump were to sign a bill by the end of the day.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.