Nothing quite like a little congressional junket to Puerto Rico to help ease the stress of a government shutdown.

Nearly three dozen Democrats reportedly visited the island over the weekend to meet with lobbyists and catch a special performance of the Broadway show Hamilton.

The group also met with government officials to discuss recovery efforts since Hurricane Maria and with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC. Several members were even spotted enjoying Puerto Rico's sunny beaches while the U.S. Capitol was being buried by a snowstorm.

Wasn't Leader Pelosi just at a posh luxury resort in Hawaii over the holiday while furloughed government workers were deciding whether to sell blood in order to buy food?

Someone cited a CNN poll that reportedly says most Americans blame Trump and the Republicans for the shutdown. Typical CNN poll, but also a typical response to most government shutdowns. The Republicans almost always get the blame. Trump took ownership of it anyway before it even began. After all, some things are worth fighting for. That's something the Republicans are only learning.

Your thoughts on the government shutdown probably align with your thoughts on Hillary Clinton losing the last election, so the blame doesn't really matter much.

What will matter to the voters are the optics and how Democrats frolicked in the sands of Hawaii and Puerto Rico while government workers went without paychecks.

They will also remember that President Donald J. Trump remained at his desk ready to negotiate. Too bad the beach bums were unwilling.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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