In a Christmas message to U.S. troops serving at home and abroad, POTUS Donald Trump made it clear that a portion of the government will remain closed until Democrats in Congress agree to his funding request for the border wall.
The president made his remarks Christmas morning in response to a question about when he believed the partial shutdown would come to an end.
“I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open. I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it,” POTUS said.
The president also heralded some of the progress that’s been made recently in regards to border security in response to a question from a reporter in the Oval Office.
He also explained some of his claims on Twitter in recent days that sections of the wall are already being built.
“One other thing people don’t understand or know… we’ve renovated massive amounts of very good wall — wall that was good but was in bad shape…. And in addition to that, and I think very, very importantly, we’ve built a lot of new wall,” he said.
“So it’s all being built; the new piece, the new section, it’s very, very exciting what’s going on there, and you’ll see it because in January I’m going there. … So, while we’re fighting over funding, we’re also building, and it’s my hope to have this done, or completed — all five hundred to five hundred-fifty miles — to have it either renovated or brand new by election time,” Trump said.
The border with Mexico is about 2,000 miles long, but the president and the White House, as well as U.S. border personnel, have said that due mostly to natural barriers there would not need to be a wall along the entire boundary.
POTUS also repeated an earlier claim that he has enough funding to build a wall in the $25 billion that Congress has already signed off on for border security during the latest round of negotiations. However, “We want that money to be increased because I want to finish it,” he said.
Talks between Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as the White House, broke down right before the Christmas holiday, leading to a shutdown of a portion of government services. Democrats and their media allies have attempted to blame it on the president, who said earlier this month during an open meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he would be glad to take the ‘credit’ for it.
But since then, Republicans and the administration have countered that Democrats are holding up current border funding negotiations over their refusal to fund the president’s long-sought wall, which he and federal border officials say would dramatically reduce illegal immigration and the smuggling of dangerous opioids.
Some now believe the shutdown may well last into 2019. That said, conservatives have been urging the president to dig in and hold true to his funding demands, saying it’s now or never. — Jon Dougherty
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