President Trump could not say on Christmas Day how long the federal government would be closed.
He vowed one again, in Oval Office comments, to keep it closed, however, so long as Democrats refuse to appropriate the money he needs for his border wall.
‘I can’t tell you when the government’s going to be open,’ he told reporters. ‘I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier.’
The president was supposed to be in Florida this week with his daughters and sons. He was in Washington, D.C. instead on Tuesday morning making calls to the troops.
On Christmas Eve he went to a church service with his wife Melania.
‘I’ve been at the White House, and I love the White House, but I wasn’t able to be with my family. My family’s in Florida. Palm Beach. I just didn’t want to go down and be there while other people are hurting. But it’s going to all work out,’ the president said on Christmas of the ongoing shutdown.
President Trump could not say on Christmas Day how long the federal government would be closed
The president also claimed for a second time in the last 24 hours that he had signed a contract at a ‘great price’ to build 115 miles of wall in an undisclosed area of Texas. He said Tuesday that he’d be visiting the site at the end of January.
President Trump also talked about ‘a massive amount of wall’ that he says the federal government has renovated in addition to the new section he said is being built.
It was not immediately clear where in Texas the president is building his wall, as none of the legislation that has been approved since he took office explicitly gives him permission to build a brand new barrier on as much land as he says the contracts cover.
He has permission to build and replace fencing in some areas and is asking for unfettered authority and at least $5 billion in taxpayer funds to complete the construction project.
The president said in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he is aiming to 500 to 550 miles of wall either renovated or completed by Election Day in 2020.
It’s a lofty goal for the administration, especially considering that Democrats and the White House have been unable to agree on language pertaining to the president’s ‘border wall’ in a spending bill for the current fiscal year, forcing a partial government closure.
In the Oval Office the president claimed that he’s getting $25 billion from Congress for border security that has already been approved. Any legislation that contained money for border security like what Trump was describing has not passed Congress, however.
‘That’s for everything,’ Trump said Tuesday morning. ‘Plus we have some wall money in there. But, we want the wall money to be increased. Because I want to finish it.’
Trump said just yesterday that the $25 billion his administration is seeking for border security is not the same as the money he’s seeking for the border wall.
Democratic leaders said after the Monday claim that they were utterly confused by what he’s actually requesting, because it keeps changing.
They begged him to stop causing ‘chaos’ in the markets by sharing his steam-of-consciousness and put him on blast for the holiday shutdown.
‘Instead of bringing certainty into people’s lives, he’s continuing the Trump Shutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts,’ House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer wrote.
‘Meanwhile, different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment.’
Trump said Tuesday that the wall would be ‘very high’ and as high as 30 feet in some areas.
‘Now there may be the case of the Olympic champion who can get over the wall, but for the most part, you’re not able to do it. It’s going to be very high.’ he said.
Some 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the shutdown. They have either been asked to work without pay or take an unpaid leave of absence for the duration of the dispute.
The president said on Christmas that he has heard from some of those workers, and they told him to stand his ground.
‘They want border security. The people of this country want border security. It’s not a question of me, I’d rather not do shutdowns,’ he asserted. ‘These federal workers want the wall. The only one who doesn’t want the wall are the Democrats, because they don’t mind open borders.’
President Trump has relaxed his request for $5 billion for a ‘physical barrier’ to a lesser number of approximately $1.6 billion or more.
He is promoting a ‘steel slats’ fencing design that the White House thinks some Democrats will support. Existing legislation allows for ‘bollard fencing’ along the southern border.
Lawmakers went home for the Christmas holiday over the weekend, as the Senate adjourned until Dec. 27.
President Trump was at the White House residence on Monday morning, having cancelled his Florida holiday to be in Washington for the duration of the partial shutdown.
There, he harped that Senate Democrats working against his wall had favored fencing — until he called it a wall and ran for office — and attempted to clarify his border security demands.
He said the $25 billion he’s seeking for border security is not the same as the wall money.
‘The Wall is different than the 25 Billion Dollars in Border Security. The complete Wall will be built with the Shutdown money plus funds already in hand,’ he claimed. ‘The reporting has been inaccurate on the point. The problem is, without the Wall, much of the rest of Dollars are wasted!’
Bored at the White House on Christmas Eve as his wife flew back from Florida to be with him, President Trump spent the day watching Fox News and tweeting about the government shutdown that was caused by a rift with Democrats over border security.
The president sent multiple messages that made it clear that he was watching network news from the residence of the White House, where he said that he was ‘all alone’ until his wife Melania returned from Palm Beach.
‘I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,’ he said on Monday afternoon. ‘At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!’
His staffers had left for the day to be with their families, just as lawmakers had mostly departed Washington.
Nothing was on the public schedule for the president that the White House typically sends out. It has not went out since the partial shutdown.
He filled the time on Monday with tweeting, including an attack on the Federal Reserve, sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 650 points on what was being declared the worst Christmas Eve ever for the market, and by talking to reporters on Tuesday after holiday calls to the military.
‘It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,’ a joint statement from Pelosi and Schumer on Monday afternoon said. ‘The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense.’
The National Christmas Tree that sits beside the White House went dark over the weekend, becoming a symbol of the partial government shutdown that’s expected to last until 2019
President Trump has relaxed his request for $5 billion for a ‘physical barrier’ to a lesser number of approximately $1.6 billion or more
He is promoting a ‘steel slats’ fencing design that the White House thinks some Democrats will support. Existing legislation allows for ‘bollard fencing’ along the southern border
There, he harped that Senate Democrats working against his wall had favored fencing — until he called it a wall and ran for office
He appeared to be responding to claims from inside and outside the White House that he would take $25 billion for border security over 10 years. That breaks out to $2.5 billion a year for border security, including $1.6 billion annually for the wall.
Democrats have otherwise offered Trump $1.6 billion in border security money that cannot be used on a concrete border wall and may not may not allow him to build the steel-slated fence that he’s begun pushing.
That bill places restrictions on where the president is allowed to build the barrier, limiting operations to the Rio Grande Valley.
A summary of the legislation explicitly states that funds would be limited to the ‘currently deployed fencing design along the southern border, such as bollard fencing’ and cannot be used for ‘building any barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.’
A White House source told DailyMail.com that Trump wants the restrictions on where the fencing can be built dropped.
Another offer of $1.3 billion for fencing also contains restrictions on where the wall can be built, making it a no-go as well for the administration.
Trump is refusing to sign any continuing resolution to fund the government that does not allow him to build a border wall.
He rejected a bill Thursday that did not have the $5 billion for just the border barrier, leading to Friday night’s government shut down.
The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. Visitors were turned away because of electrical problems due to the partial government shutdown
Litter spills out of a public dustbin next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Because of the shutdown, some 380,000 federal workers were furloughed
Another trash can is seen overflowing on Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday morning
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has not responded to his administration’s latest offer of $1.6 billion for steel slats without restrictions on where he can build the fencing.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney revealed the offer on Sunday morning.
‘We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday’ of the state of play.
He also warned the shut down could last well into the new year, when Congress changes hands and a new legislative session begins.
‘It’s very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,’ Mulvaney said. ‘I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here the next couple of days,’ he added.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the government shut down could last into new year
Trump continues to defend his wall
Trump touted the legislation he signed into law last week with a complaint most of the news coverage focused on his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria
With Christmas on the horizon, Congress has adjourned until Thursday, Dec. 27. And Lawmakers are expected to return to work late next week.
The new Congress will be sworn into office on Jan. 3. If Mulvaney’s prediction is correct, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will begin her speakership under the cloud of a shut down.
Even if her caucus passes legislation to end it, the onus will fall to the Senate to also pass it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he won’t bring any bill to the floor that the president has not already agreed to sign.
A partial government shut down began on Friday at midnight amid a fight over funding for the president’s border wall.
A furious Trump blasted it as a ‘Democrat shutdown’ as it was about to begin in a video of himself addressing the nation.
‘We’re going to have a shutdown. There’s nothing we can do about that, because we need the Democrats to give us their votes,’ he said. ‘Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want.’
He added, ‘The shutdown hopefully will not last long. Thank you very much.’
On Sunday, the president spent his day indoors, tweeting occasionally about news of the day.
He said that ‘only a good old fashioned Wall’ works for border security even though drones and other technology are ‘fun’ and can also be used.
‘The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier. Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!’ he said.
Negotiations appear at a stalemate. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence and Mulvaney went to Capitol Hill to speak with Schumer while Trump had lunch at the White House with hardline Republicans who back his wall.
‘Still talking,’ was all Pence had to say of the matter to reporters.
On Sunday, Mulvaney sought to pin the blame for the shut down on Democrats.
‘The ball is in the Senate’s court,’ he said. ‘We made them an offer yesterday afternoon.’
He also claimed that what Trump wanted built falls within the arena of what Democrats’s have already approved.
‘The president tweeted out a picture yesterday the steel fence, the steel slated fence with a pointed top and so forth, that’s what we want to build. And the Democrats’ mind, that is not a wall,’ Mulvaney said.
‘So they have offered this $1.3 billion to build the barrier that we want but then they go on TV and say there’s no money for a wall. We’ve already told the Democrats we want to build what the president tweeted out. It doesn’t have to be a 30-foot high concrete.’
‘Fox News Sunday’ host Chris Wallace pressed him on the issue. ‘So, you think that they would approve $1.3 billion to build this deal picket fence?’ Wallace asked.
Mulvaney replied, ‘Exactly. Well, the steel barriers that the president tweeted out.’
He added: ‘I think it’s a really good question as to whether or not this deal can be cut before the new Congress comes in.’
Mulvaney also hinted that Pelosi was going along with the shutdown to appeal to her liberal base.
‘I think there is an implication here for Nancy Pelosi’s election for the speakership. I think she’s in that unfortunate position of being beholden to her left wing to where she cannot be seen as agreeing with the president on anything until after she is speaker. If that’s the case, again, there’s a chance we go into the next Congress,’ he said.
Pelosi’s office hit back in a statement that said, ‘As Mr. Mulvaney well knows, House Democrats are united in their opposition to the President’s immoral, expensive and ineffective wall.
‘The sooner the White House recognizes the need to stop the posturing and start serious bipartisan talks, the sooner we can end the #TrumpShutdown,’ her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said on Twitter.
Mulvaney indicated negotiations on the border wall are moving between the $5 billion that Trump needs to fully fund his wall and the $1.3 billion that Democrats originally offered.
‘We’re between $1.6 billion and $1.5 billion,’ he said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’
He brushed aside the infamous Oval Office shouting match a few weeks ago, where Trump said he would be ‘proud’ to shutdown the government, and he would take responsibility for a shut down. ‘It’s on me,’ the president said at the time.
‘He is proud to be having the fight,’ Mulvaney said. ‘This is what Washington looks like when you have a president who refuses to sort of go along to get along,’
Incoming White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney sought to blame Democrats for shut down
Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (left) on Saturday as incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) warned colleagues the shutdown could go into the new Congress
Pelosi’s office fired back at Mulvaney
On ABC’s ‘This Week,’ the Office of Management and Budget director who’s also serving as acting chief of staff indicated there was nothing he could do to change the president’s mind.
‘You’re not the chief of the president, you’re the chief of the staff. You’re not going to change the way the president behaves, the president thinks, the president operates,’ he said.
Senator Bob Corker, a Republican, was critical of the shutdown on CNN
‘This is a purposely contrived fight over, at the end of the day even – no matter who wins, our borders are still going to be insecure,’ the outgoing lawmaker from Tennessee said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
President Trump will stay in Washington through Christmas and has canceled his plans to go to Mar-a-Lago for the time being.
Trump has spent the weekend tweeting a defense of the actions of his administration – the shut down, pulling U.S. troops out of Syria and the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
First lady Melania Trump, who had already gone to Mar-a-Lago, will return to the White House to spend the holidays there.
‘Due to the shutdown, President Trump will remain in Washington, D.C. and the first lady will return from Florida so they can spend Christmas together,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Both chambers on Capitol Hill anticipate the impasse will continue into the first weeks of January.
Pelosi warned Saturday night that ‘it is unlikely that there will be any progress to end the Trump shutdown in the next several days.’
In a message to her caucus on Saturday night, the Democrat, who is the presumed next House speaker, claimed: ‘Until President Trump can publicly commit to a bipartisan resolution, there will be no agreement before January when the new House Democratic Majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government.
‘Please be assured you will be made aware of any developments to re-open government in the days ahead’.
Donald Trump (pictured) cancelled plans to travel to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas as he deals with major developments on U.S. foreign policy in Syria, two high-profile resignations and a potential governmental shutdown
Trump tweeted on Saturday: ‘I will not be going to Florida because of the Shutdown – Staying in the White House!’ He added the hashtag ‘MAGA’ – or, ‘Make America Great Again.’
Minority Senate leader Chuch Schumer (left) and Vice President Mike Pence (right) arrive today to hold talks aimed at breaking the impasse and a government shutdown lasting weeks
After Pence’s visit to the Hill on Saturday, a Schumer aide said that the vice president ‘made an offer’ but ‘unfortunately, we’re still very far apart.’
Schumer said the ‘Trump shutdown’ could end immediately if the president simply dropped his demand for border wall money. ‘If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall,’ Schumer said.
Trump had been scheduled to travel to his Florida resort with his family for the end of year holidays, but said on Friday he would stay in Washington if he and lawmakers failed to strike a budget deal to avert a partial government shutdown.
He left it unclear at the time, however, how long he might remain in the nation’s capital.
Trump tweeted on Saturday: ‘I will not be going to Florida because of the Shutdown – Staying in the White House!’ He added the hashtag ‘MAGA’ – or, ‘Make America Great Again.’
The President’s initial plans were to spend 16 days at the so-called ‘winter White House’ – the nickname given for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The U.S. government will officially be partially shut down through the Christmas holiday.
Adjourned: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday afternoon that no deal was reached and the Senate was adjourned until Thursday December 27
Let the work begin! Trump piled on the pressure for his dream ‘great Steel Barrier or Wall’ on Saturday afternoon as Congress struggled to come to a spending bill agreement
The president continued to toot his own horn on Saturday once again stating won’t back down in the fight for a border wall, resulting in no deal
Rise and shine: Trump tweeted on Saturday afternoon that he was hard at work negotiating with Democrats on a deal to pass his wall, but to no avail
He dismissed news reports on the partial government shut down and Syria as fake news
Politicians headed home for holidays while this week while 420,000 federal employees were left to work without pay over the holidays and an additional 380,000 workers were furloughed.
The first day of the shutdown played out in uneven ways. The Statue of Liberty was still open for tours, thanks to funding from New York state, and the U.S. Post Office was still delivering mail, as it is an independent agency.
In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was remaining open with state funding, the governor said.
The memorial to Oklahoma City bombing victims was to continue to operate, but the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center at College Station, Texas, said its National Archives facilities were closed during the shutdown.
Trump’s re-election campaign sent out a fundraising email late Saturday launching what he called ‘the most important membership program ever – the OFFICIAL BUILD THE WALL MEMBERSHIP’. The president urged donors to sign up.
‘The crisis of illegal activity at our Southern Border is real and will not stop until we build a great Steel Barrier or Wall. Let work begin!’ he tweeted on Saturday.
Trump has dismissed reports on the shutdown, his removal of troops out of Syria, and the protest resignation of his Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Thursday as ‘fake news’.
The first day of shutdown played out in different ways with the Grand Canyon (left) remaining open with state funding. The Statue of Liberty (right) was still open for tours thanks to funding from New York state
McConnell addressed the Senate floor on Saturday at 12pm EST blaming Democrats for preventing a bill from going through saying they feel ‘compelled to disagree with the president on almost anything and certainly this’
While Trump stayed behind in Washington to negotiate with Democrats, his wife, Melania, flew to the family’s Mar-a-Lago compound in West Palm Beach, Florida.
‘It has long been the family’s tradition to spend their Christmas holiday at Mar-a-Lago,’ the First Lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN.
‘Her plans to travel with her son to their Florida home for his winter break have not changed this year.’
Trump’s ideal $5 billion budget would be enough for 215 miles of barrier along the border. Less than half of that amount would cover 100 miles of South Texas frontier that does not currently have a fence, according to Dallas News.
A senior White House official confirmed to DailyMail.com on Saturday that the Trump administration wants 700 miles of wall at the border. Some of the requested $5 billion fund would replace old and wobbly fencing.
The official said that the Trump administration still expects Mexico will pay for the wall, even though the nation said it would not.
‘It’s about getting the appropriate amount of money that’s necessary to build those barriers and being able to have the flexibility to build them,’ the senior administration official said.
Trump says he wants to erect a ‘great Steel Barrier or Wall’ and shared a picture of a prototype design showing a 20ft steel slat fence on Friday.
On Friday the president tweeted that he was biding his time and that he cancelled his holiday trip to Florida to wait on a bill that would finance a border wall. Twitter users have poked fun at the president for posing signing a seemingly blank page
Trump shared this photo on Friday of the steel slat barrier he wants to erect at the border. He’s refusing to back down to a deal without a $5billion border fund
The U.S. Capitol dome pictured at the base of the Washington Monument just before sunrise on Saturday just after the government officially partially shut down
Shutdown: The U.S. government was partially closed on Saturday after Congress failed to pass a spending bill
Trump notably said he would build a border wall, but would have Mexico pay for it.
Who’s affected by the government shutdown
- 53,000 TSA Employees
- 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents
- 42,000 Coast Guard employees
- 5,000 Forest Service Firefighters
- 3,600 Weather Service Forecasters
- 96 percent of NASA
- 80 percent of National Park Service
- 18,300 staff of the Department of Transportation
- 52,000 IRS staff
- Flights – air traffic control and security will still work although without pay
- Trains – Amtrak is government-owned and will operate
- U.S. Postal Service
- Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements
- Social Security checks
- Military and law enforcement
- The Department of Veteran Affairs
- Food stamps and subsidized lunches
- Active duty military members
He dismissed the shutdown as the doing of Democrats, tweeting ‘OUR GREAT COUNTRY MUST HAVE BORDER SECURITY!’ along with his video.
‘We don’t want people coming in that aren’t supposed to be here, we want people to come in through a legal process,’ he says to the camera.
‘It’s very dangerous out there, drugs are pouring in, human trafficking. So many different problems including gangs like MS-13. We don’t want them in the United States…We need a great barrier, and if we don’t have it, it’s never going to work,’ he said.
The shutdown may cripple the nation during the holiday season as thousands will be forced to work without pay or will be furloughed, meaning placed on leave without pay.
Some of the Americans forced to work without pay include 53,000 TSA employees, 54,000 customs and border protection agents, postal office workers and air traffic controllers.
The shutdown will affect nine government departments including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation and Treasury. NASA and state parks will also lose their funding.
It means 42,000 Coast Guard employees and 5,000 Forest Service Firefighters will be forced to work without pay, according to projections by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
However, agencies that that are ‘essential to the safety of life and protection of property’ will continue to operate.
Holiday travel will not be halted in the shutdown as TSA and border agents will continue to work – albeit without pay.
The U.S. Postal Service, Medicare reimbursements, and social security will also continue to be operational in the shut down.
President Donald Trump sent his son-in-law Jared along with his incoming chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill to negotiate with the Senate Democratic leader
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to his office during ongoing negotiations Friday
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer depart after speaking to the media on Thursday
The government will only be partially shut down as Congress already funded 75 percent of the federal government through September 2019.
No one knows just when the the shut down will end. Trump himself said he’s ‘totally prepared for a very long shut down’ on Friday in the Oval Office.
This is the third government shutdown for the Trump administration. On January 20 of this year a shut down ensued after Republicans refused to fund DACA. Another shutdown followed on February 9, which Trump stopped hours later.
The longest ever government shutdown took place in late 1995 to 1996 and lasted 21 days. In 2013 another shutdown lasted 16 days.
The government shut down at dawn on Saturday which left 420,000 Americans forced to work without pay over the holidays and 380,000 federal employees furloughed
A projection of the impacts of the shutdown pictured above showing that 53,000 TSA employees and 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents will be forced to work the holidays without pay
U.S. government shutdown will impact 800,000 federal workers
Roughly 420,000 Americans will be forced to work without pay over the holidays, 380,000 will be furloughed (meaning be given unpaid leave), and 30 million small businesses will lose access to loans.
Shutdown will impact about 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal employees in the United States, according to Democrats in the House and Senate.
80 percent of the employees of the National Park Service will also be sent home, along with 96 per cent of NASA workers and 86 per cent of the Commerce Department.
41,000 federal law enforcement and correctional officers, air control workers, and postal workers will all work without pay.
Nine Departments are effected including the homeland security, transport, commerce, state, agriculture, interior, treasury and housing and urban development.
Others such as the Defense Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Health and Human Services have already received funding and will be spared.
No visitor services will be provided at tourist attractions such as the nation’s national parks, which are frequently visited over the Christmas holidays.
According to the LA Times, parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon will likely remain accessible to visitors. However, visitor centers and campsites will probably be closed.
It is unlikely bathrooms will be cleaned and maintained also.
During the last shutdown, the Statue of Liberty was closed for two days before the state of New York decided to pony up the money necessary to keep it open.
The Smithsonian in Washington said it had enough in reserve to keep its museums open through January 1.
The post office, Medicare, TSA and social security will continue to operate.
One person who will not be the victim of the shutdown is Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigation Russian collusion in Trump’s presidential campaign