President Donald Trump has said that Democrats could ‘solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time’, a day after threatening to declare a national emergency in order to build the wall without Congressional approval.
‘Great support coming from all sides for Border Security (including Wall) on our very dangerous Southern Border. Teams negotiating this weekend!’ Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday morning. ‘Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate (to put it mildly)!’
He continued: ‘The Democrats could solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time. All they have to do is approve REAL Border Security (including a Wall), something which everyone, other than drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals, want very badly! This would be so easy to do!’
It followed Trump’s vow on Friday that he will shut down the government for ‘months or even years’ if he does not get money for his border wall with Mexico.
President Donald Trump has said that Democrats could ‘solve the Shutdown problem in a very short period of time’ by approving funds for a border wall
Trump’s threat was first disclosed by Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, during a news conference outside the White House following a meeting between Congressional Democrats and the President.
He accused the president of holding federal workers ‘hostage’ for the wall and urged him to continue the conversation with the government open.
The president confirmed the remarks as he addressed reporters in the Rose Garden.
‘I did. I did. I did say that. Absolutely, I said that. I don’t think it will, but I am prepared,’ Trump said at the beginning of a lengthy news conference.
Trump claimed the meeting was ‘very, very productive,’ which was a stark contrast to the tone adopted by Democratic leaders, and said that he was setting up a working group led by Mike Pence, the vice president that would meet this weekend to discuss how to move forward on the shutdown.
He headed to the Rose Garden after the meeting for an impromptu press conference flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Pence, Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (L) depart the West Wing after a meeting with Trump on Friday
Pelosi said the atmosphere at the White House talks was ‘contentious’ on Friday
Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader had been present for the talks but was not at the press conference. Trump claimed he was ‘busy running the Senate,’ even though it had adjourned until Tuesday.
Trump described his wall as a vital national security measure, and in a free-wheeling performance claimed that illegal immigrants were being driven across it away from ports of entries, in some cases with women in the back of their vehicles with their mouths taped over.
The president also disclosed that he had considered declaring a national emergency to build the wall without legislative approval and said: ‘I can do it, if I want.’
‘We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. Absolutely. No, we can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it,’ he said. ‘We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.’
He said he’d prefer to do it through a ‘negotiated process’ with lawmakers, and that’s what they will be working on over the weekend.
‘You can call it whatever you want. You can call it the Schumer, or the Pelosi, or the Trump shutdown. Doesn’t make any difference to me,’ he told a reporter. ‘Just words.’
He also used the press conference to say that he had asked the Democrats if they would use the shutdown to impeach him.
Schumer, Pelosi, their deputies and their Republican opposites had met with Trump at the White House for two hours of talks with Trump as the shutdown went on for a fourteenth day.
Trump insisted that ‘progress’ was made — although he wouldn’t say what it was — and that both sides were in agreement on reopening the government as quickly as possible.
As Pelosi left the White House she told reporters the talks were ‘sometimes contentious. Schumer echoed her comments.
‘It is very hard to see how progress will be made unless the open up the government,’ he said in brief remarks.
Schumer said: ‘We made a plea to the president once again: don’t hold millions of Americans, hundreds of thousands of workers, hostage. Open up the government, and let’s continue the discussions.’
The Democrat said Trump indicated in the meeting that he was willing to ride the shutdown out.
‘He said he would keep it closed for a very long period of time, months or even years,’ Schumer added.
There was no mention from the Democratic leaders of a possible deal floated by Pence, who had suggested that the president could use a program giving legal status to illegal immigrant children as an incentive for Democrats to give him is border wall.
Pence said that Trump’s stance heading into a Friday morning meeting with congressional leaders is ‘no wall, no deal,’ but he’s willing to negotiate other aspects of an agreement to reopen the government.
‘I think the president’s made it very clear — no wall, no deal,’ he told Tucker Carlson after the Fox News host asked about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. ‘But look, we really are prepared to negotiate, we’re prepared to talk, we’re prepared to listen,’ he added.
Trump claimed at the presser once again that an appeals court squashed a DACA deal last year when it protected the program his administration axed.
‘That’s what broke up the DACA deal. Yes, we had a pathway, we had many things, that was getting close to being a deal,’ he said. ‘The problem was that the money was a very small amount of money.’
The president said that the $25 billion over 10 years that the legislation appropriated only provided $1 billion up front for his wall and he didn’t want to have to go back to Congress and ask for the money each year.
He signaled he wouldn’t sign the bill he seemed to be referring to at the time because it provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrant children. He smacked it down as amnesty for illegals.
Vice President Mike Pence suggested that the president could use a program giving legal status to illegal immigrant children as an incentive for Democrats to give him is border wall
Pence said that Trump’s stance heading into a Friday morning meeting with congressional leaders is ‘no wall, no deal,’ but he’s willing to negotiate other aspects of an agreement to reopen the government
Pelosi has said that DACA alone is not enough for her caucus to give the president his border wall funding, anyway. He’s asking for north of $5.6 billion at this point.
The president didn’t say what he offered Democrats, or what they may have agreed to, as he took one last shot at getting the government back on track before the end of the current pay period.
‘I don’t want to get into that, because I don’t want to put them in a position where they have to justify anything to a lot of the people they have to make happy.’
He used the response as an opportunity to say that the nation does not want children dying on the way up from Central America to the United States and traveling in caravans.
Pelosi said Thursday that she’d be willing to give the president a dollar for the wall to get the government back open, but she was only half-seriously responding to a reporter’s question about the potential for an agreement.
House Democrats passed bills providing no money for the wall last night that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for a little more than a month.
The White House has said that Trump would not sign the legislation, and the Senate did not bother to put it on the floor.
As leaders departed the Capitol for their meeting on the other side of town with Trump, the Senate adjourned until Tuesday morning, ensuring that the government shutdown would continue for at least three more days.
Trump meanwhile sent each Member of Congress a slideshow prepared Nielsen that the White House previously suggested was so sensitive that it could only be viewed in a classified setting.
GOP leaders and the White House also complained that Pelosi and Schumer walked out of the Wednesday briefing early and rudely interrupted the president’s Cabinet secretary.
The White House said in a Friday statement that Trump had sent the slideshow briefing to every member of Congress, as such. It also shared the presentation with the media.
It was not clear why the presentation needed to take place in the Situation Room of the White House if the information could be distributed far and wide. It is usually used for classified meetings.
A notice claimed, ‘Some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so the President decided to make it available to all Members of Congress.’
It didn’t come up at the president’s press conference, where a congresswoman’s calls for his impeachment and a pay raise his Cabinet members were due to receive were also discussed.
Trump made his first appearance behind the podium in the White House press briefing room on Thursday afternoon to plug his border wall on camera. He left without taking questions ten minutes later to the shock and dismay of assembled press.
He made sure he had the last word on Friday, giving an impromptu press conference in the Rose Garden on an unseasonably warm winter day.
The temperature was 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington during the remarks that Trump wore an overcoat to. His vice president, accompanying lawmakers and DHS secretary signaled toward the end that they were cold. Trump offered his jacket to a shivering Nielsen but she declined and rubbed her hands together, instead, as the president forged on with questions.
He let House McCarthy and Scalise deliver remarks after Pence and had Nielsen take a question on terrorism.
As they were leaving, Pence turned around to tell DailyMail.com that he’d reject a pay raise coming to him as an unintentional effect of the shutdown.
Democrats also spoke to press from the president’s driveway, reiterating in their position that they will give him no money for the wall.
The White House has repeatedly suggested that Pelsoi would loosen her grip on border wall funding once she was formally named speaker. Trump has repeatedly claimed that Democrats are refusing him to have a platform to run on in 2020.
But the California Democrat has continued to be firm in her resolve that wall funding is not coming.
‘We’re not doing a wall,’ Pelosi said Thursday after she’d taken the gavel in the House. ‘It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking. It isn’t cost effective.’