Trump says build US-Mexico wall or he'll seal border

Posted December 30, 2018

US President Donald Trump has threatened to seal the United States-Mexico border "entirely" if Congress does not approve billions of dollars in funding for a wall.

Friday morning, Trump tweeted that the United States "will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall".

Trump's demand for money to build the border wall and Democrats' refusal to give him what he wants has caused a partial government shutdown that is almost a week old.

When the shutdown began on Dec 22, affecting one-quarter of the federal government, Trump canceled his plans to spend the year-end holidays in Florida and vowed to remain at the White House - though he made a quick, unannounced trip to visit US troops in Iraq.

The shutdown is forcing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors to stay home or work without pay.

Trump and the top two Democratic leaders engaged in a televised war of words on December 11 in an Oval Office confrontation during which the president took ownership of the coming partial shutdown.

And Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted a message to Pelosi and the Democrats, signaling he would not vote for a deal that does not include money to fund Trump's border wall. "If not, one of the first things we'll do will be to move to pass legislation to reopen the government". The official noted that the Democratic lawmakers appear more concerned with preserving Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's likely speakership than end a partial government shutdown. "So we fully expect that until she is elected speaker and has locked that vote up, we don't expect to hear from the Democrats again".

But even that may be hard without a compromise because the Senate will remain in Republican hands and Trump's signature will be needed to turn any bill into law. The White House would have to notify Congress if it wanted to cut or reallocate aid, which could delay or complicate the process.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill added that Democrats are united against the wall and won't seriously consider any White House offer unless Trump backs it publicly because he "has changed his position so many times".

Mulvaney, who serves as White House budget director, said he believes Schumer is willing to come to an agreement on border security funds, but Pelosi is holding up a deal.

Asked about Trump's border-closing threat, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters it was an internal USA government matter.

Democrats brushed off the White House's attempt to cast blame.

"I'm not allowed to talk about that", one woman in Pelosi's office said about Pelosi's vacation, according to The Washington Examiner. "They told us last night that they were not countering our last offer".

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, responded to the president's tweets via a prepared statement and did not address the threat to cut off aid to Central American countries.

About 90 minutes later, Trump made clear he already is viewing the shutdown and border wall fight in terms of how it might help him during his re-election campaign.

"We are not giving up on that - it's why the government is closed, ' Mulvaney said. We do not want to be rash", he said.