Trump ramps up Mexico wall row with national address, border visit

Parts of the border already have a wall such as here dividing Tijuana and San Diego County

Image Parts of the border already have a wall such as here dividing Tijuana and San Diego County

A quarter of the United States government has been shut down since December 22, affecting some 800,000 federal employees, because congressional Democrats have refused to approve any funding for the border wall.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's acting chief of staff, told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that agreeing to a steel separation would allow Democrats to stick to their refusal to fund a wall.

"I don't know how you walk past this one if you are a news organization, when the president is speaking at a moment like this", Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, told CNN.

'The discussion immediately turned to a bunch of technical requirements or technical requests that the Democrats were asking for the first time ever in these negotiations, so I think this is going to drag on a lot longer.

On Twitter Monday, the president confirmed he will outline - what he calls - the "humanitarian and national security crisis" on the southern border, during a speech Tuesday night. While Vice President Pence eagerly tweeted about weekend talks between the White House and Congress, there was one thing which stood out from the photos released by his office - there were no lawmakers from either party involved.

He said he was making the offer to Democrats because 'they don't like concrete so we'll give them steel'.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn't provide any additional details on such a declaration or the timeline of such a move.

While the U.S. military and other major agencies are still fully funded, the impasse has left 800,000 government workers from other departments furloughed or working without pay. She called the debate over using steel versus concrete "bizarre". "And it's been that way for decades, and we can't have it anymore", Trump said.

There was no end in sight Monday for the shutdown that has halted about a quarter of USA government operations since December 22nd.

Trump criticizes Democrats’ intention to raise issue of his impeachment
The proposed wall is reportedly going to be made from steel, which Trump told reporters would be "less obtrusive" and "stronger". Meanwhile, on Twitter , Trump described the wall as a steel barrier that will be a "good solution and made in the U.S.A".

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Trump's words were just "threatening talk" with no power behind them.

"The Democrats are continuing to play games", she said.

Williams said Trump is also playing "base tribal politics" and that he's playing up issues at the border to distract from other issues he's facing.

Trump has not backed down from his demand for more than $5 billion in funding for the border wall.

"Trump says "the Mexicans will pay for this wall.' I don't see that", he said".

"President @realDonaldTrump will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis", Sanders tweeted. "We have to have border security".

The congressman also said that if Democrats give into Trump's demand, it would incentivize the President to attempt further shutdowns in order to extract concessions.

Asked if workers would get paid on Friday, Mr Trump said: "We'll see whether or not it's settled". Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, has held fast to his pledge that he would not put any legislation on the floor that the president would not approve.

Trump, a former NY businessman, said he could relate to the workers who would have trouble paying bills because of the shutdown and threatened, again, to declare a national emergency as an alternative way to build the wall, depending on the outcome of talks in the coming days.

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