All three networks went into red alert on Friday, hyperventilating about the “chaos” of a shutdown showdown after Donald Trump “torpedoed” a deal as he demanded funding for a border wall. Of course, the blame went mostly to Republicans. Today co-host Hoda Kotb blasted, “Critics saying it is up to the President and his party to break the gridlock.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, Mary Bruce sulked, “There is real uncertainty and confusion here this morning and many lawmakers are fed up. They were heading towards a solution then the President torpedoed it. And that shutdown looming is looking more likely than ever.”
Weekend World News Tonight anchor Tom Llamas hyperventilated: “And on the brink. The government just hours away from a shutdown.” Meanwhile, senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega chided: “Mary Bruce has the latest from all of this on Capitol Hill. Mary, even some of the president's own party are privately blaming him for this chaos.”
Back on Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd connected all the things happening in Washington: “Only in Trump's Washington is the shutdown not the lead story.” He lectured viewers for not freaking out: “I think some people that watch, I’m sure, the Today show think sometimes, ‘You know, you say it's a crisis. You say it’s a crisis.’”
Todd also scoffed: “It's a shame people might be so numb to this and some of us are so numb. I can't underscore how serious things are right now.”
On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King worried about government workers: “What are they going to say to the workers now who will be without a job possibly? What do you possibly say to all these people?” Chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett tried to calm her down: “We have a weekend coming up... The President has declared Christmas eve a holiday. Christmas is a holiday.”
He concluded that “the actual disruption, because of that unique scenario, may be less than it would be in previous partial government shutdowns.”
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
December 21, 2018
7:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]
HODA KOTB: Breaking overnight, chaos in Washington after the abrupt resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Publicly scolding President T rump on his way out with an extraordinary rebuke of the commander in chief and his this as the government hurtles towards a shutdown today. Critics saying it is up to the President and his party to break the gridlock.
7:09 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Chaos in Nation’s Capital]
KOTB: Let's turn to Chuck Todd. Hey, Chuck. Good morning.
CHUCK TODD: Good morning. You know, only in Trump's Washington is the shutdown not the lead story. It just sort of — I had to think about that for a minute. Sorry guys.
KOTB: We will get to that in a second. But you see all these people departing. Secretary Mattis, Chief of Staff Kelly, Secretary Tillerson. [Todd sighs heavily.] Help put this into perspective. On the crazy scale, how crazy is this?
Hoda, it's a shame that there has been this sense and I think some people that watch, I’m sure, the Today show think sometimes, “You know, you say it's a crisis. You say it’s a crisis.” It's a shame people might be so numb to this and some of us are so numb. I can't underscore how serious things are right now. I can't underscore the break between Senate Republicans and this President. I mean, just think about this fact. About Secretary Mattis and the President's decision to pull out of Syria, Vladimir Putin cheered him and the President's Secretary of Defense resigned.
That's sort of the stark reality. You could just see the Republicans in Washington in particular I think feel as if they have been smacked in the face. The hot water — whatever you want to, metaphor you want to pick, that's the feeling they have now.
WILLIE GEIST: Chuck, Secretary Mattis, as you know, is number one on the list of people around the President who are believed to put some guard rails in place, who could be buffers to his impulses. Now just about all of those people are gone. What does that mean for the future of this White House as we turn the corner to 2019?
TODD: Well, I think the President believes he knows what he is doing now. I think the President believes he doesn't need the approval of these other folks, that he knows better and, if anything, he is better off fighting.
So I think what it means is there aren't going to be other people and I think those that are left in this west wing, those that are left in this administration, if you have made the decision to stay, you have made the decision to essentially fall in line. So I think that means this idea that there are, quote, people that are the guardrails, that idea is no longer operational.
GEIST: Meanwhile, Chuck, the clock is ticking to a potential shutdown tonight at midnight. Do you think the government will be open come midnight tonight? And if so, does President Trump get the wall or some version of the wall?
TODD: Right now it doesn't look like it is. I think that on December 21st everybody feels as if they can dig in their heels. Let's see what happens on Monday morning when it's December 24th and the reality that these folks realize they are not going to be where they promised they would be. The President is tired of this crummy weather. He may be fine not going to Mar-a-Lago tonight. I will be curious where he is in 48 hours.
ABC's Good Morning America
December 21, 2018
7:00 a.m. Eastern
TOM LLAMAS: And on the brink. The government just hours away from a shutdown. President Trump refusing to sign a deal without funding for his border wall. Overnight, the House passing the President's plan, but now a Senate showdown. Will hundreds of thousands of workers be furloughed for the holiday?
7:12 a.m. Eastern
CECILIA VEGA: Mary Bruce has the latest from all of this on Capitol Hill. Mary, even some of the president's own party are privately blaming him for this chaos.
MARY BRUCE: Cecilia, there is real uncertainty and confusion here this morning and many lawmakers are fed up. They were heading towards a solution then the President torpedoed it. And that shutdown looming is looking more likely than ever.
CBS This Morning
Dceember 21, 2018
7:13 a.m. Eastern
NANCY CORDES: Just 24 hours ago it looked like the president was going to accept this spending deal and look for his wall funding somewhere else. But then he decided that he wanted congressional Republicans to go to the mat for that wall funding instead a shutdown went from unlikely to potentially unavoidable. House Republicans gambled and won last night... Passing a spending bill that includes the $5 billion in border wall funding the President demands.
7:16 a.m. Eastern
KING: What are they going to say to the workers now who will be without a job possibly? What do you possibly say to all these people?