President Donald Trump invited a few of his friends from law enforcement to make a call to Democrats to build the wall.
In an unexpected move, Trump made his first-ever appearance in a White House press briefing to allow Border Patrol agents a chance to speak publicly about their request for funding to go toward a border wall.
The U.S. government is nearing the two-week mark in the partial government shutdown that started after a dispute between the White House and Democratic leadership about funding the border wall.
Trump congratulated Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on her confirmation as speaker of the House, but he didn’t drop his continued call for border wall funding.
Watch Trump’s briefing below:
At the first appearance in the White House briefing room of his presidency, President Trump congratulates newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and calls it a "very, very great achievement" https://t.co/WPwBpLSmVW pic.twitter.com/aPIiqYEmA1
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 3, 2019
Trump gave a brief introduction and then handed it over to Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council. Judd quashed any “expert” who has said that a border wall is not an effective way to reduce illegal activity at the border.
Watch Judd’s comments below:
Donald Trump invited National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd to speak at a surprise press briefing.
“Anywhere that you look where we have built walls—they have worked. They have been an absolute necessity for Border Patrol agents in securing the border," Judd said pic.twitter.com/9ULSK8phUs
— POLITICO (@politico) January 3, 2019
“I can personally tell you from the work that I have done on the southwest border that physical barriers, that walls, actually work. You hear a lot of talk that there are experts that say that walls don’t work. I promise you that if you interview Border Patrol agents, they will tell you that walls work.”
Judd explained that illegal immigration and drug smuggling dropped “exponentially” after a barrier was put up in his part of Arizona. He also mentioned several times that he appreciates Trump’s efforts to secure funding for a wall despite the shutdown impacting their paychecks.
“There’s also a lot of talk on this shutdown that federal employees do not agree with this shutdown,” Judd said. “I will tell you that’s not true.”
Art Del Cueto, the vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, echoed Judd’s sentiments.
“We are all affected by this shutdown,” Del Cueto said. “We have skin in the game. However, it comes down to border security. And we are extremely grateful to President Trump, and we fully support what he is doing to take care of our nation’s borders and to take care of the future of the United States.”
Del Cueto also took a jab at Democrats.
“It has nothing to do with political parties,” he said. “You all got to ask yourselves this question: If I come to your home, do you want me to knock on the front door, or do you want me to come through that window?”
It isn’t yet clear how long the shutdown will last. Trump has asked for $5 billion for a wall, but Democrats have only offered $1.3 billion for border security so far. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it a “non-starter.”