Trump threatens USA government shutdown over Mexico wall funding

Tanya Cunningham
December 13, 2018

"If we have to close down the country (over) border security, I actually like that in terms of an issue", he said.

The legislature promises to be full of fireworks as seen Tuesday, when what was supposed to be a White House photo opportunity session bringing together Pelosi, Trump and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer escalated into a feisty exchange on Trump's proposed border wall, as television cameras rolled.

I know he doesn't believe in government.

It was the first time Trump met with Pelosi and Schumer since the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in November 6 congressional elections - a rocky start to the relationship the White House will have with the opposition party, with which it needs to deal to advance any priorities.

She said the president had responded that she should inform the press because it would be news to them.

For the past two years, Pelosi has repeatedly said she had initially meant to retire after the 2016 elections but chose to stay on and continue leading House Democrats after Trump's upset victory.

Pelosi hardly saved her disdain for Trump for the private audience, letting it rip in slightly more respectful tones a few hours earlier when the president invited journalists into the Oval Office for what were billed as talks over the national budget. "He said, 'Donald Trump.' I said, 'I never mentioned your name'".

Under the deal, House Democrats will vote by February 15 to change party rules to limit their top three leaders to no more than four two-year terms, including time they've already spent in those jobs.

But she described Trump's admission during the 17-minute on-camera tete-a-tete that he would be "proud" to shut the government as a political triumph. That is less than the $1.6b a bipartisan Senate committee has approved.

"I told him about Ronald Reagan", Pelosi told the Democrats.

"Let's call a halt to this", Pelosi said as the two went at it.

"It's done", Schumer said.

If the shutdown happens it would not be the first time during Mr Trump's presidency, with thousands of workers forced to stay at home without pay for three days in January after a Senate stalemate which resulted in funding not being released. After the meeting, Schumer told reporters, "This temper tantrum that he seems to throw will not get him his wall". In a deal with rebels that will pave the way for Nancy Pelosi's return as House speaker, she has agreed to limit her time in the role to a maximum of four years.

After the meeting, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Democrats have "made clear they would rather keep the border open than the government open".

"If you really want to find out how effective a wall is, just ask Israel", Trump said.

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