US President Donald Trump on Wednesday slammed Democratic leaders following a meeting at the White House with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) to negotiate an end to the government shutdown.
“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!” tweeted Trump after the meeting.
Schumer told reporters that Trump "didn't get his way and he just walked out of the meeting", according to The Hill.
The gathering lasted for roughly a half hour.
Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Trump's account of the meeting to reporters, saying the president "said goodbye" after Pelosi spurned his request for a border wall.
"The president made clear he is going to stand firm to achieve his priorities," Pence was quoted as having said.
On Tuesday night, Trump gave an address to the nation from the Oval Office, in which he explained his reasoning for demanding a wall along the border with Mexico.
He explained that the US could no longer accommodate immigrants who enter the country illegally and warned of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border”.
The wall, said Trump, would cost $5.7 billion and “at the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier and not a concrete wall.” The President insisted “the border wall would very quickly pay for itself.”
He noted that the government shutdown continues because Democrats “will not fund border security.”
Pelosi and Schumer later responded to Trump’s remarks, with Pelosi dismissing Trump’s claims and saying that “much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice.”
“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government,” she added.
Schumer said that the only reason for his address is that “the President of the United States – having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill – has shut down the government.”
“Our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President: re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security. But end this shutdown now,” he added.