With the deadline for a new spending bill looming, President Donald Trump invited Congressional Democratic leaders to the White House and held on-camera negotiations where he pledged to shoulder the blame for any government shutdown that occurred because of his insistence on funding for a border wall.
On Saturday, MSNBC's Al Sharpton had a panel discussion about the shutdown that featured conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt and liberal talk show host Joe Madison. Madison shamed Hewitt into silence.
"Just between us, when you think about it, this president got adamant about it after his fellow conservatives Rush Limbaugh and others started beating up on him. Isn't this the president trying to hold his base because there was an erosion from the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh that he panicked and went in overdrive trying to prove to the 33% base that listens to these people that he is tough and going to do what he said?" asked Sharpton.
"I don't think it was panic," said Hewitt. "One ought to always take into account, if you're conservative, what Rush has to say—he has the largest single audience in America with 20 million people tuning in every week to listen... There have been 17 previous shutdowns... and they always end with a compromise. And this time the compromise is denied by the Democrats."
Sharpton shot his argument down, pointing out that a compromise bill everyone agreed to was on the table before Trump announced that he would refuse to sign it.
"You're still in the first quarter!" said Hewitt. "Chuck Schumer got the football with the $2.5 billion offer."
The other three speakers groaned before Madison unloaded.
"Oh, come on," said Madison. "We're not playing games here. Let's quit this football analogy. I have family members, too, that are saying we don't know what we're doing do. Nobody it playing games. Let me tell you, the mortgage companies aren't playing games. So let's quit the talk about football, first quarter, that type of thing. The reality is that the President of the United States said, and he said it emphatically, 'I will take responsibility for the shutdown.'"
As Hewitt sat silently, Sharpton decided to stop the panel.
"Let the panel take a breath," said Sharpton.