White House

‘Enough trash to build a wall’: Shutdown protest delivers California waste to Trump

The White House got a first hand look — or maybe, smell — of the partial government shutdown’s impact Tuesday, thanks to a shipment of trash from California.

Reps. Jackie Speier, D-California, and Jared Huffman, D-California, picked up trash at Lands End and Ocean Beach with the group San Francisco Dog Owners over the weekend. Those are two of many national parks that have remained unstaffed for more than two weeks as the shutdown has dragged on.

Speier and Huffman decided to have some of the trash — three big boxes worth — shipped to Washington, D.C. and delivered to the White House and President Donald Trump to make a point about the shutdown, according to Speier’s office. The bags were sent using traditional shipping methods.

Biological waste — dog poop bags — were removed beforehand.

“Soon we’ll have enough trash to build a wall, perhaps,” Huffman told reporters from just outside the northwest gate of the White House. The trash stood by him and Speier in a blue garbage bin labeled “Trump’s Trash.”

It was delivered to the White House police at the gate, according to Speier’s office. Police wouldn’t take it, so staff took it back to the Capitol for disposal.

The shutdown has lasted 18 days so far, with no end in sight.

It stems from a disagreement over border wall funds, with Trump insisting on at least $5 billion in funding for a wall along the Mexican border, and congressional Democrats insisting they’ll only grant a portion of that money broadly for border security, not specific to a wall.

There have been numerous photos and reports of trash piling up in national parks, as the Trump administration chose to keep the parks open during the shutdown without staff.

Speier said the shutdown has been particularly difficult on furloughed rangers in California, where the cost of living is high compared to most of the country.

“This was done to make a point,” Speier said. “The point is: This is an artificial shutdown.”

Kate Irby is based in Washington, D.C. and reports on issues important to McClatchy’s California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee. She previously reported on breaking news in D.C., politics in Florida for the Bradenton Herald and politics in Ohio for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.