Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he is not sure who is in charge of negotiations at the White House as the partial government shutdown stretched into its first afternoon and both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill look for a spending agreement in the near future.
Schumer told reporters that back-and-forth and alternate discussions between Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly, and GOP congressional leaders have muddied negotiations and have made it difficult to pin down negotiating tactics after a multitude of meetings and discussions.
"Unfortunately, the president and Republicans in Congress are like Abbott and Costello," he said at a media availability, referring to the comedic duo who became popular in the mid 1990s. "The congressional leaders tell me to negotiate with President Trump. President Trump tells me to figure it out with congressional leaders."
Schumer likened negotiating with Trump to doing so with "jello" a day after the two almost struck a deal in which the Senate Democratic leader claimed to have agreed to a figure for border wall funding, which he would not reveal.
"This is the third or fourth time on this issue he's made some kind of commitment and then backed off because he's afraid of the right wing — whether [White House policy adviser] Stephen Miller does it. Whether Gen. Kelly doesn't steer him in the right direction and just lets it happen, I don't know," Schumer said.
"You'd have to ask people who know the White House better than me," Schumer said when asked if Trump is actually running the White House. "All I know is it's next to impossible to negotiate when the position keeps changing and changing and changing."
Schumer said after the vote on the continuing resolution failed last night that he hopes negotiations resume in the near future between Trump and the four congressional leaders — a point he reiterated Saturday morning.
"You've got to always be willing to try, and I am," Schumer said.