Michael Bloomberg: Government shutdown a failure of ‘presidential leadership’

11 JAN 19 15:19 ET

(CNN) — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is weighing a 2020 presidential bid, blamed President Donald Trump on Friday for the government shutdown, calling it a failure of “presidential leadership.”

“This has gone on for a few weeks. It’s a disgrace,” Bloomberg said at an event where he was giving out a climate award in Austin, Texas.

Bloomberg said he thinks it’s time for Trump to re-open the government and “work with Democrats to come up with real solutions to our immigration problems.”

“Instead, all we hear from the President is a lot of fear-mongering and lies, and sadly that has been the story of his presidency,” Bloomberg said. “And now I think he’s willing to hurt the American people by shutting down the government over an idea that would waste a lot of taxpayer money without doing anything to solve the real problem.”

Speaking later to CNN’s Cristina Alesci, Bloomberg rejected Trump’s suggestion that a national emergency should be declared to build a border wall.

“The bottom line is there is no excuse for the political stunt just because the President had made a commitment when he ran for office and afterwards. He cannot get it done and deliver for his constituency, he should just stand up and say I tried and let’s get on with the next thing,” Bloomberg said. “There’s no one issue or one constituency. The President has not been elected to be the representative of a party or of a small group. He’s supposed to be representative of a whole country.”

Friday marked the government shutdown’s 21st day, and if it rolls into Saturday, it would set the record for the country’s longest shutdown in history.

Trump and congressional Democrats continue to appear unwilling to budge on their positions regarding funding for border security, as Trump maintains his request for more than $5 billion to build a border wall, which Democrats refuse to agree to.

The lapse in funding has hit roughly a quarter of the federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the Interior Department and the State Department.

A spokesperson has told CNN that Bloomberg plans to decide on whether to weigh a 2020 campaign no later than February. A billionaire who was elected mayor as both a Republican and independent, Bloomberg announced in the fall he had re-registered as a Democrat and unleashed some of his considerable wealth to boost Democrats in last year’s midterm elections.

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