US Government Will Stay Shut Down as Long as Democrats Refuse to Build More Barriers on U.S.-Mexico Border, Trump Says
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 26, 2018
In an interview with the press from the White House on Christmas, President Trump said: "I can't tell you when the government's going to be open. I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it."
"I'll call it whatever they want but it's all the same thing," he said at the White House after offering holiday greetings to U.S. troops stationed around the country and the world.
Trump argued that drug flows and human trafficking into the U.S. can only be stopped by a wall.
"We can't do it without a barrier. We can't do it without a wall," he told reporters.
Democrats oppose spending any money on a wall or fence, pushing instead for increased use of technology to control access at the border.
At a televised meeting in the Oval Office on December 11th with Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, Mr Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security…I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
Schumer and Pelosi blame Trump for the stalemate and for "plunging the country into chaos." They pointed to problems beyond the shutdown, including heavy losses on Wall Street and Trump's decision to fire his Defense Secretary.
Trump now blames Democrats for refusing to vote for a House-passed bill that includes the $5.7 billion he wants for the wall.
I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas. We are already building and renovating many miles of Wall, some complete. Democrats must end Shutdown and finish funding. Billions of Dollars, & lives, will be saved!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
A Democratic aide granted anonymity to discuss the private talks said the White House offered $2.5 billion — an initial $2.1 billion plus $400 million Democrats called a "slush fund" for the president's other immigration priorities, FOX 8 reported.
Several Cabinet departments and agencies have been closed since Dec. 22, after their funding lapsed, and budget director Mick Mulvaney warned the shutdown could stretch into January, when Democrats are set to take back control of the House.
Trump excused federal employees from work on Monday and Christmas is a federal holiday, meaning the public could begin feeling the shutdown's effects on Wednesday. Some 800,000 federal workers must either work without pay for the time being, or stay home and wait to be paid later.
In 1995 and 1996, when Republicans held the House of Representatives and a Democrat sat in the White House, the blame for twin shutdowns went to Republicans. In 2013, the setup was the same: the House was controlled by Republicans and the White House by a Democrat. The government shut down once again. Republicans have shut the government down for the third time in 2018.
In the meantime, Florida resident Brian Kolfage, who is a triple amputee and Air Force veteran, started the GoFundMe page on Dec. 16, as USA Really reported earlier. By Wednesday morning, Dec. 26th, more than $17.5 million had been pledged to the cause by more than 280,000 people.