President Donald Trump on Wednesday stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over an ongoing partial government shutdown, calling it “a total waste of time.”
The breakdown in already fraught negotiations over border wall funding, which have kept nine federal agencies shut down for 19 days and counting, appeared to heighten the possibility that Trump might declare a national emergency.
“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO,” Trump explained in a tweet as Pelosi and Schumer described the walk-out to reporters.
“I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Trump added.
Schumer, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, called Trump’s behavior “unbecoming of a presidency.”
Trump’s reference to “30 days” relates to the House Democratic-passed legislation to fund eight departments through Sept. 30 and reopen the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8. Democrats say the extra time would allow hundreds of thousands of federal workers to get paid while lawmakers break an impasse over the proposed wall.
During a meeting with Senate Republicans earlier Wednesday, a few senators such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska urged Trump to fund the departments other than DHS to alleviate the effects of the partial shutdown. The president said the GOP should stay unified, according to Murkowski.
After the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “we’re all behind the president.” Senate Republicans’ support for Trump’s border wall funding increases the likelihood of a long shutdown, as Democrats have unequivocally said they will not approve the money.
Trump is demanding $5.7 billion toward funding a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump previously said parts of the government could stay closed for “months or even years” if he does not see his demands met.
When asked Wednesday how long the departments would stay closed amid the impasse, he answered: “Whatever it takes.”
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