As the government shutdown has dragged on, the Trump administration has made a series of major changes to how agencies without funding are operating, which it claims are simply an effort to make things “as painless as possible.” But as someone who helped manage the government-wide response to the 2013 shutdown, I can tell you: President Trump’s White House is selling the American people a bill of goods.
It’s natural to want to reduce the harm from a shutdown. But that’s not Trump’s goal. If it were, he would not be threatening to continue this one for months or years. Instead, he is making changes to past precedents in a one-off manner to paper over problems and help favored constituencies, all to create the political space to prolong the standoff. Trump is not concerned about making the shutdown painless for the American people — he’s concerned with making it painless for himself.This article was originally published in The Washington Post.