WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told Democrats Friday he is prepared to allow the government shutdown to go on months or even years if that’s what it takes to get a border wall, the president acknowledged at a news conference.
After what both sides described as a contentious meeting at the White House, Trump admitted making the comments about months or years – “absolutely I said that” – but also said he hopes the matter will be resolved in days after more negotiations over the weekend.
Trump held talks at the White House with congressional Democrats, who emerged from that meeting saying that the president head threatened a long shutdown. Pressed by reporters on whether he held out the possibility of the shutdown lasting months or “years,” Trump responded, “I did. Absolutely I said that.”
“I don’t think it will. But I am prepared,” Trump said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats told Trump the government needed to be re-opened.
“He resisted,” Schumer said. “In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time – months or even years.”
Nevertheless, Trump insisted the meeting with Democrats was “productive” and said the parties agreed to create teams of negotiators who will meet over the weekend to discuss a deal to re-open the government and provide for border security, including a wall.
Trump maintained that he wants $5.6 billion for border security and wall funding, and dismissed proposed compromise ranging from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion.
Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have remained adamant in their opposition to any federal money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“A wall is an immorality between countries,” Pelosi said Thursday after Democrats passed their own plan to reopen the government. “It’s an old way of thinking. It isn’t cost effective.”
Said Pelosi: “We’re not doing a wall.”
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