Washington, Jan 9 (EFE).- President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the White House meeting he held with Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to attempt to break the political impasse and end the partial government shutdown was a “total waste of time,” and he insisted that there will be no agreement on fully reopening the government unless the wall he is demanding along the US-Mexico border is funded.
“Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” said Trump on his official Twitter account, although the House speaker and the Senate minority leader said that the president had abruptly left the meeting when it became clear that they would not agree to funding the wall.
“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. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” tweeted Trump after the brief meeting.
Schumer, in remarks to reporters after the meeting, criticized Trump’s behavior, saying: “Unfortunately, the president just got up and walked out. He asked Speaker Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no. And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out.”
“Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way and he just walked out,” said the Senate minority leader.
Previously, during a luncheon with Republican lawmakers, Trump insisted that the wall is a necessity and said he was ready to keep the government partially shut down – with some 800,000 federal workers receiving no paychecks – for “as long as necessary.”
On Tuesday evening, the president addressed the nation in a prime-time televised 8-minute Oval Office address in which he spoke about what he called the “growing humanitarian and security crisis” on the southern border, a crisis – he contends – that can only be solved by building the wall he repeatedly promised during his election campaign and said Mexico would pay for, but for which he is now demanding that Congress provide $5.7 billion.
The Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, have categorically rejected the idea of building a border wall, calling it wasteful, ineffective and contrary to American values.
The inability of congressional Democrats and Republicans to reach agreement on the federal budget – which Trump is demanding must include the money he wants to start construction on the wall, and which he says he otherwise will not sign into law – has resulted in the partial paralysis of the US government, now in its 19th day.
Of the 800,000 federal employees receiving no pay during the shutdown, about 420,000 so-called “essential” workers are still on the job, while the remainder have been fully idled.
On Thursday, Trump will travel to the Texas border with Mexico, where he will meet with authorities to learn firsthand about the situation in the area.