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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Home alone and isolated, Donald Trump stands ground on border wall

US President Donald Trump’s insistence on funding for the US-Mexico border wall comes in face of opposition by Democrats on spending any money on a wall or fence

world Updated: Dec 25, 2018 22:36 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
President Donald Trump says parts of the government will stay shut as long as Democrats refuse to fund building more barriers on the US-Mexico border
President Donald Trump says parts of the government will stay shut as long as Democrats refuse to fund building more barriers on the US-Mexico border(REUTERS)

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday the partial shutdown of the federal government, which has entered the fourth day, will continue for as long he does not get funding for a wall he wants to build along the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration.

“I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen…. (not until) we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want, he said to reporters after the annual Christmas tradition of calling US troops deployed abroad.

A fourth of the federal government shut down Saturday because of the failure by the President and congressional Democrats to agree on funding to build the border wall, for which he has demanded $5 billion. Democrats have refused to allow any money for the wall, but are willing to give him $1.3 billion for border security.

Monday night, on Christmas Eve, the President complained, feeling sorry for himself perhaps, isolated and under pressure from critics and allies alike over what has been a specially tumultuous past few days, even by his standard — Syria withdrawal and resignation by defense secretary James Mattis.

Read More | ‘I am all alone (poor me) in White House waiting…’: Donald Trump’s Christmas tweet

And the shutdown. “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” he wrote in one of a series of Tweets he sent out on issues ranging Syria, North Korea and the wall and the shutdown.

The president said Tuesday, he wanted to be with his family for Christmas, who were in Florida. “(I) thought it would be wrong for me to be with my family. … I just didn’t want to go down and be there when other people are hurting.”

“But it’s gonna all work out,” he added.

Read More | 4 lakh staff will go without pay, 3.8 lakh ‘on leave’ as US shutdown begins

While he is standing his ground on the wall, he is willing to settle for less than the $5 billion he has demanded. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has said the administration will agree to less — he has not specified the amount — but the Democrats must raise their allocation from $1.3 billion.

Negotiations are likely to resume on Thursday when the Congress convenes after the Christmas break. But Democrats have shown no inclination to relent. “Different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the President would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment,” top congressional Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said in a joint statement on Monday.”The President wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it.”

Also Read | ‘Are you still a believer in Santa?’: Trump asks 7-year-old on Christmas eve

First Published: Dec 25, 2018 22:22 IST