In a televised meeting between President Donald Trump and Democrats, tempers flew as Trump sparred with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over his proposed border wall and a potential government shutdown.
Trump is demanding $5 billion in funding for his much-discussed Mexico-U.S. border wall, while Democrats are offering $1.3 billion, reported the Washington Post. If the proposed plan is not agreed on by Dec. 21 — the expiration date for some agencies’ government funding — a partial shutdown is possible, according to the Post.
“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” the president — who was joined by a silent Vice President Mike Pence — argued during one back-and-forth in the Oval Office. “The people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
Trump continued, “I’m not going to blame you for it. … The last time you shut it down it didn’t work. I will take the mantle for shutting down. I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
Schumer had prodded Trump by noting, “We shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute. You want to shut it down.”
He argued, “20 times you called for, ‘I will shut down the government if I don’t get my wall.’ You said it. You said it.”
Pelosi also called the potential shutdown a “Trump shutdown.”
Throughout the opening of the spray, Pelosi suggested removing the press as the political leaders argued.
“Let us have our conversation and then we can meet with the press again,” Pelosi said.
Speaking to reporters outside of the Oval Office, Schumer said of the president, “This Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum that he seems to throw, will not get him his wall and will hurt a lot of people.”
Ahead of the meeting, Trump addressed the funding issue in a series of tweets, claiming that “open borders” bring “large-scale crime and disease.”
Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries…….
…..Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border. A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution. We have already built large new sections & fully renovated others, making them like new. The Democrats,…..
….however, for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security. They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease. Our Southern Border is now Secure and will remain that way…….
…..I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built…
….People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!
— Donald J. Trump
He added that he was looking forward to his meeting with Schumer and Pelosi.