Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson
Taking Trump’s Side in Government
Shutdown Over Wall

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Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson appears to be the lone Massachusetts state official taking President Donald Trump’s side in the shutdown of many federal government services in a dispute over Trump’s proposed border wall.

Hodgson, a Republican who often emphasizes border security and cooperation with federal immigration authorities, stopped short of praising the shutdown and didn’t mention Trump by name in a written statement Saturday. But he praised the wall and criticized Congress.

“The people of our nation and the Sheriffs who have promised to protect them and uphold our laws cannot wait any longer for Congress to fund the wall and secure our borders so we can keep our neighborhoods safe from criminal illegal aliens,” Hodgson said in a written statement. “… Congress must act now on the funding for the border wall. Failure to do so will confirm again … Members’ total disregard for families who continue[] to be victimized by criminal illegal aliens.”

The president on Friday refused to sign a continuing resolution that would have kept funding all federal government agencies, in an attempt to try to prod Congress to approve $5 billion to build an extensive border wall with Mexico. Some observers think it’s Trump’s last chance to get the wall, since Republicans still have majorities in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. In January the Democrats will take over the House.

Democrats in Massachusetts hammered the president for shutting down the government.

U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-Salem) noted that Trump’s problem is not so much with Democrats as with Republicans. Since Republicans control both chambers of Congress, they could vote to fund the border wall, but during the first two years of the Trump administration enough Republicans have resisted the wall to prevent it from happening.

U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, which is a leadership position, called the shutdown “dangerous” and “unnecessary.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge), who is preparing to run for president, called the wall “stupid.”

U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Malden) went one better, calling the wall “racist.”

U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Brookline) blamed the shutdown not just on Trump but also on Republicans in Congress.

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, had not posted online any statements about the shutdown as of mid-afternoon Saturday. A spokesman for the governor could not immediately be reached for comment.

During the shutdown federal employees deemed unessential are being furloughed without pay. Federal employees deemed essential have been ordered to stay on the job.

In Massachusetts, the shutdown applies to the Battle of Bunker Hill historic site, which is run by the National Park Service, a federal agency. The Bunker Hill Monument and the museum across the street from it, which are normally open almost every day of the year, are closed.

But other Freedom Trail sites not operated by the federal government remain open, such as the Old State House, Old South Meeting House, the Paul Revere House, and Old North Church.

The USS Constitution in Charlestown also remains open, since military personnel are considered essential. The U.S. Navy runs Old Ironsides, which technically is a commissioned warship afloat on active duty.

Here’s an image from the National Park Service web site for the Battle of Bunker Hill site: