Trump's new travel ban: President won't leave DC if government shuts down

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump will not leave Washington if the government shuts down, his spokeswoman says.
  • Congress so far has been unable to agree on a resolution to keep the federal government funded.
  • Trump has been expected to spend more than two weeks over the Christmas holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at the USA Thank You Tour 2016 at the Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Center December 13, 2016, in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images

Santa might be flying, but President Donald Trump won't — if the government shuts down.

Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday morning that the president will not leave Washington if Congress does not pass a temporary spending bill that he would agree to sign to keep the government operating.

That vow, if held to, could put a big crimp in Trump's holiday plans.

The president has been expected to spend 16 days at his luxurious Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

A Federal Aviation Administration memo issued earlier this month barred planes from flying over West Palm Beach from Friday through Jan. 6. Such a ban is typically issued to coincide with Trump's travel to the resort.

However, there was no mention of the president's plans to travel on his published scheduled Friday.

A tweet from the National Business Aviation Association that afternoon announced that a temporary flight restriction on the president's travel to his Palm Beach resort had been canceled. But the NBAA followed up shortly after to clarify that a short-term restriction for the Mar-A-Lago area was "LIKELY" through the holidays.

NBAA tweet 1

NBAA tweet 2

During an appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," co-host Steve Doocy asked Sanders: "The big question is, Will the president still be going to Mar-a-Lago for his two week Christmas vacation even if there is a government shutdown which he says 'I'm OK with?'"

Sanders said, "If there is a government shutdown, the president will stay here in Washington, D.C."

"But, again, we are hopeful that people will step up and do their jobs today and get that done," Sanders added.

The House on Thursday passed a temporary spending bill to keep the government open. That bill included more than $5 billion for Trump's top item on his Christmas wish list: a wall on the United States's border with Mexico. He has also taken to calling for building that "wall" with "steel slats" rather than concrete.

But that bill almost certainly will fail in the Senate because of the inclusion of the barrier funding. The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill — without border wall money — that would keep the government running through Feb. 8.

To pass the House version with the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, Trump would need to have nine Democrats and every Republican to support the bill. But it is by no means certain that he could even get all 51 Republicans to vote for the bill.

Not one Democrat in the House voted for that chamber's version of the spending bill.

Trump on Friday said in a tweet "the Democrats now own the shutdown." But on Dec. 11 he exclaimed in a contentious meeting with Democratic leadership that he would be "proud" to shut the government down if Congress doesn't accede to his demand.

Funding for the seven agencies that would be affected by the shutdown runs out after midnight Friday.