White House shutdown strategy: Keep Trump contained

McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) also believed that the Democrats were in a politically tricky position, and called Trump multiple times to ensure he remained locked into the approach, Republicans familiar with the discussions said.

Trump told advisers on several occasions he was listening — even if his instincts were to do otherwise.

The approach was simple and streamlined, a White House official said: Blame Democrats for the stalemate by branding it the “Schumer Shutdown”; argue that the Democrats were holding the government and military hostage by trying to link the unrelated policy issue of immigration to a funding bill; and make it clear that the White House would not negotiate on anything while the government remained closed.

The White House also made sure that senior administration officials, as well as top surrogates, were out on television pushing the president’s message.