UK & US

‘Bye bye!’: Trump walks out of meeting over border wall funding

Donald Trump has dismissed a meeting with Democrat leaders over the ongoing shutdown of the US government as a "total waste of time" after they refused to agree to the funding of his proposed border wall.

The president met with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer hours after the pair announced they were prepared to pass laws to reopen state departments, which have been closed for 19 days.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer have insisted they are in favour of border security, but said Mr Trump "slammed the table and said we have nothing to discuss" after their White House summit.

1:36
Video: Schumer: We don't govern by temper tantrum

Following the meeting, Mr Trump tweeted: "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time.

"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!"

Emerging from the short-lived summit, Mr Schumer said the president had "just walked out of the meeting" because "he could not get his way".

Chuck Schumer urges Donald Trump 'not to hold government workers hostage' 2:04
Video: 'The president needs to come to his senses' – Schumer

At an earlier press conference alongside some of the workers affected by the shutdown, senior Democrats accused the president of having a "temper tantrum".

US federal employees told Mr Trump to "stop playing chicken with our lives" as they pleaded for an end to the shutdown, which has run for almost three weeks as the president continues to seek funding for his US-Mexico border wall.

He previously said he would be "proud" to force a shutdown if he does not get the $5bn he wants for the wall, but some 800,000 employees are now facing another week without pay as departments without ring-fenced funding are forced to stay closed.

Workers plead for an end to the shutdown
Image: Workers' representatives pleaded for an end to the impasse

Speaking at a press conference organised by Mr Schumer and Ms Pelosi, Eric Young said prison workers he represents had to "live pay check to paycheck" earning between "$500 to $700 a month".

He added that many of the employees – who supervise "some of the worst criminals in the country" – were single mothers who had responsibility for child care and needed to pay bills.

He added: "What does it serve America's public to shutdown the government in the name of border security, and neglect our internal security and the fabric of our prisons?

"We are the people of this shutdown. End this shutdown. If something happens to any of our professionals behind this distraction, blood will be on your hands.

"Stop playing chicken with our lives."

The employees face a third week without pay
Image: Hundreds of thousands of employees face a third week without pay

A representative of employees in the department of housing and urban development said workers were losing their childcare places because they could not pay, and were at risk of missing mortgage payments.

She warned that building inspections were not being carried out – and that if there were problems with any housing developments, there was no one at the department to call.

The national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, J David Cox, said they wanted the shutdown to end "this very minute".

President Trump addresses the nation over immigration and the border wall 9:28
Video: Trump's full address on border security

He said: "We don't just oppose this because we aren't getting paid, but that would be reason enough.

"We oppose being held hostage, we oppose being collateral damage, we oppose the use of extortion instead of reasoned debate.

"We oppose politicians who think so little of us, our work and the institutions of government that they think nothing of bringing whole departments to their knees. It's time for this lock out to end."

Smithsonian National Zoo is closed to the public while the government is in partial shutdown
Image: The National Zoo is one of many attractions affected by the shutdown

The conference came a day after Mr Trump addressed the nation on TV from the Oval Office for the first time, insisting that Congress needed to approve billions in funding for the wall on security and humanitarian grounds.

Mr Trump claims that the wall it is vital to stop illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America, and prevent criminals getting into the US.

He called on Democrats – who now control the House of Representatives – to meet him and said it would be "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing".

More from Donald Trump

The president also claimed that he was conceding to the Democrats in making the wall steel rather than concrete, as he painted illegal immigrants as criminals and drug dealers who put a strain on public resources.

He also said they fuelled the deaths of Americans by drugs.

Original Article

Related Posts