Trump Threatens To Extend Government Shutdown For Years If He Doesn’t Get His Wall
President Trump on Friday threatened to keep about 25 percent of the federal government closed for years until he gets his desired funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
He made the remark during a closed-door meeting at the White House with congressional leaders on the 14th day of a partial government shutdown.
According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Trump on Friday threatened to withhold funding for multiple government agencies “for a very long period of time — months or even years.”
Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke to reporters following a meeting with Trump at the White House, which they characterized as “contentious,” signaling that negotiations over the shutdown are not likely to end soon.
Emerging from the White House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) described a “lengthy and sometimes contentious conversation with the president.” She said both sides agreed to continue talks but added that Democrats don’t believe the standoff is resolved until the government is re-opened.
“We cannot resolve this until we open up government,” Pelosi said.
That sentiment was echoed by Schumer, who said “it’s very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government.”
In contrast to remarks from Democratic leaders, Trump said the group came “a long way” during the meeting.
“I thought it was really a very, very good meeting. We’re all on the same path” toward reopening the government, Trump said.
He rejected Pelosi’s proposal to reopen most of the closed parts of government while wall talks continue, saying, “We won’t be opening until it’s solved.”
The president spoke in the Rose Garden and was flanked by Vice President Pence, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and House GOP leaders.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said there was no talk during the meeting of a potential deal to include protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients.
Arriving back at the Capitol, Pelosi largely declined to respond to questions from reporters and instead deferred to Hoyer. But when asked about her remarks at the White House citing some “progress,” she said that was a reference to “the president understanding” the Democrats’ position that the impasse won’t be resolved before the government is reopened.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) lambasted Trump for suggesting the government could be shut down for years.
“I think he’s just been watching too much Fox News,” Lowey told reporters. “I have never, never thought I would reach a point in my career where we have had a president speak so irresponsibly about serious issues. You don’t bluff about shutting down a government [for years].”
“This is not a sitcom,” she added.