Trump again threatens to close southern U.S. border over wall funding

Minnie Murray
December 29, 2018

President Donald Trump is threatening to close the USA border with Mexico if Democrats in Congress don't agree to fund the construction of a border wall.

The standoff in Washington over Trump's demand for money to help fund the border wall, estimated to cost about $23 billion in total, was widely expected to drag well into January.

With "non-essential" operations at numerous agencies shut down for lack of funding and Congress adjourned until next week, Trump was in the White House firing off angry tweets. It also is beginning to pinch citizens who count on certain public services.

Incoming acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump had canceled his plans to travel to Florida to celebrate New Year's at his private Mar-a-Lago club.

At the heart of the stalemate is Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

The House and the Senate convened for just minutes on Thursday before gaveling closed until next week. During an interview Friday, Sanders criticized Democrats for refusing to budge on the issue of immigration and said they have completely left the negotiation table.

Pelosi is poised to become speaker of the House again after Democrats officially retake the majority of the House next week.

"Everyone agrees that what we can and should be building on that southern border is that steel barrier that the president tweeted out". Hammill said Democrats are waiting for Trump to publicly endorse a proposal to end the shutdown because he "has changed his position so many times".

During the brief session in the House, Republicans shot down a Democratic attempt to vote on legislation to reopen the government.

Opponents - especially in the Democratic party but also some in Trump's Republican party - say that a physical wall is impractical and that the idea is being used as a political tool to whip up xenophobia in Trump's right-wing voter base.

"If you close the border you are going to reinvite huge swings in the stock market, you are going to jeopardize the economic progress we've made, and you're frankly going to do a lot of damage to your own prospects for 2020 by inviting a recession", he said.

As he did Thursday, Trump remained out of public view on Friday. The Senate bill contains $1.3 billion for border security excluding any concrete wall.

Trump also claimed he would cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala for "doing nothing for the United States but taking our money".

"We are always seeking a good relationship with the United States".

Rep. Gerry Connolly on Friday warned President Trump that following through on a threat to close the southern border would be a disaster - both economically and politically.

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