Pres. Trump bickers with Dem leaders, threatens gov't shutdown

Oscar Cross
December 13, 2018

There was Trump, sitting between two seasoned legislators, repeating his demands for border wall funds, while House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer first politely, then forcefully, told him no, with the force of their combined 60-plus years in Congress.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning linked the suspected terrorist attack in Strasbourg, France, to Democratic leaders' refusal to grant him the funding to build a wall on the US border with Mexico. She questioned Trump's "manhood" publicly in October at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, for example. He insisted the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer was "very friendly".

Schumer and Pelosi repeatedly stated that they had come in "good faith" to prevent a government shutdown.

Neither the public nor the private face-to-face portion of the meeting appeared to resolve the wall-funding dispute with a partial shutdown looming on December 21. Calling on Pelosi to say something, she said the government "should not have a Trump shutdown". Trump wants the next funding package to include at least $5 billion for it, an idea Democrats have flatly rejected.

"I will take the mantle". Instead, Trump said he'd take responsibility for any shuttering of government. Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, who have all served two terms as speaker, majority leader and majority whip when Democrats last controlled the House. The homeland bill includes about $1.3 billion for fencing and other security measures at the border. Democrats were in no mood to sympathize, emphasizing their newfound political strength.

"The president is so used to obsequious advisers who fail to dispel his false and made-up facts that he lives in a cocoon of his own truth", Schumer said in a Senate speech.

Pence, a former House member, sat silently as Trump and the two Democrats bickered. "Progress has been made and the conversations are constructive because all involved care about the institution of the House of Representatives".

Trump said earlier Tuesday that he could even order the military to do the work if Congress refused to fund construction - although it was not clear that he had the authority.

The wall remains the main sticking point in talks. Since taking office and requesting money from Congress to fund the wall and border security, the President has shifted his call for funding, claiming that Mexico will now "reimburse" the U.S. for the wall.

Democrats and Republicans are primarily divided over how much to provide for border security funding. "It's a national security thing".

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that U.S. authorities had "caught 10 terrorists", citing it as a reason for why the United States should build a wall on its Mexican border, but four government sources said there was no recent evidence of terrorism suspects being caught along the border.

"She's not negotiating for me", he said.

That set the stage for what came next: Trump and Pelosi haggling over vote counts, along the way highlighting Trump's long-term disengagement from the legislative process.

"We've got to bring him into the world of congressional reality", Durbin said.

Mr Schumer said: "You say, "my way or we'll shut down the government".

A senior United States counterterrorism official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said: "We do not have evidence of known or suspected foreign terrorist organisations trying to infiltrate the southern U.S. border". The Kentucky Republican said "magic" sometimes happens in Congress ahead of Christmas, when lawmakers are eager to leave Washington.

"If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall".

The former IN congressman's statuesque performance was a contrast to the kinetic scene unfolding around him, another made-for-television moment that allowed the bombastic Republican president to pick a fight with the two Democrats perhaps most reviled by his conservative base on live cable TV.

By the end of the meeting, Schumer had baited the president into bragging: "I am proud to shut down the government for border security".

He urged Trump to stay strong. "It's his choice to accept one of those options or shut the government down".

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