Agency, 10 January : President Donald Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now in its third week, calling the talks with congressional Democrats “a total waste of time.”
“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!” Trump said.
Top congressional Democrats blasted Trump after the meeting Wednesday afternoon, accusing him of indifference to struggling federal workers and not trying to negotiate as the government shutdown drags on.
“Unfortunately, the President just got up and walked out,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “He asked Speaker (Nancy) 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 of the meeting.”
Trump was in a chummy mood when he entered the Situation Room, according to a source familiar with how things unfolded. The President passed out candy to attendees — Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars as well as M&M’s.
Trump told congressional leaders they would find a letter at each of their chairs — a copy of the budget request the Office of Management and Budget had put together for congressional staff in Sunday’s meeting that laid out the administration’s shutdown priorities.
Then, with the letters stating their position in front of them, White House officials asked Democrats where their position stood.
Pelosi informed the President she was concerned about ports of entry, something which he agreed with. Trump said there was money allotted in the administration’s priority list that beefed up the ports of entry.
But Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, also seated at the table, interjected to say that even if the ports of entry eliminated all drug smuggling, smugglers would find another way in, which is why the barrier structure is important, sparking the most heated exchange of the meeting between Pelosi and Trump.
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