Former presidents say they didn’t back Trump’s border wall plan

Minnie Murray
January 8, 2019

As of Monday, every living president has said otherwise.

But for now, both sides are sticking to their positions and negotiations over the weekend between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic congressional staffers yielded little progress.

The White House announced news of the border trip as the partial government shutdown continues into its 17th day, with no end in sight. The visit likely will highlight security concerns pushed by the administration as justification for the wall.

Trump's Monday afternoon tweet about his plans to address the country come as the government shutdown begins its third week, with Trump and congressional Democrats at an impasse over Trump's demand for almost $6 billion in federal funding to build a wall on the southern border.

As the shutdown lurched into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans.

'This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me, ' Trump said during remarks in the Rose Garden.

The White House did not return a request for comment on Monday night to clarify Trump's statement about the presidents.

As a first act, the newly-empowered House Democrats passed legislation last week to re-open the government while congressional leaders and the administration continued to debate border security.

Trump said in December he would be "proud" to shut the government down over the wall and last week told lawmakers it could last months.

Trump directed the White House budget office to take steps to mitigate the effects of the shutdown, including ensuring tax refunds are delivered, Pence told reporters. He exhorted Democrats in Congress to "come back from vacation" and approve funding for his wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has flatly rejected providing any funding for a border wall to resolve the stalemate.

The idea has met pushback from some, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that he did not think Trump would be able to use emergency powers to build a wall at the southern border.

Trump has argued the wall is necessary for national security and has tried to link terrorism to illegal immigration, without providing evidence, as justification for the plan.

The back-to-back events reflect a new attempt by the President to cast the deadlock over immigration as a national security crisis, a characterization that Democrats reject but which the President's aides believe will bolster support for a border wall.

But Trump and his top officials have also pointed to misleading statistics to suggest terrorists are attempting to enter the United States through the southern border.

Trump has previously given three prime-time televised addresses and two during the day, according to data compiled by CBS News.

Trump visited the southern border last March.

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