Friday is Day 21 of the partial government shutdown stalemated over President Trump's spurned demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. This gives Trump the dubious distinction of overseeing the longest partial shutdown in U.S. history, tied with a 21-day shutdown during President Bill Clinton's administration. Clinton was widely seen as having won that standoff against House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), which ended on Jan. 6, 1996. But it caused enough damage that no White House or Congress has repeated the feat since. With talks deadlocked, it appears Trump will have the record all to himself by Saturday.
Some 800,000 federal employees are working without pay — including Secret Service agents — or furloughed, like most of the White House staff. Trump is taking the brunt of the blame for the shutdown, polls show, but "lengthy shutdowns can be disastrous for the White House for other reasons," notes Katie Rogers at The New York Times:
The last time a shutdown went on for this long, President Bill Clinton put himself on the long road to impeachment when he approached a young intern named Monica Lewinsky in an empty corner of the West Wing. Nonessential employees had been sent home, unpaid interns were brought in to work, and the rest is bitter history. The Obama administration barred interns from coming to work during a shutdown, and the Trump White House's new class of interns has not yet started, according to a senior official. [The New York Times]
Not allowing interns in during the shutdown would be "a smart move," Leon Panetta, Clinton's chief of staff during the shutdown, told the Times. Peter Weber