During a whirlwind press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, President Donald Trump insisted he is prepared to keep the government shut down for “years” if that’s what it takes to get Democrats on board with funding his proposed border wall following a “productive” but “contentious” meeting with Democrat leaders.
“Absolutely, I said that,” the president responded when asked if Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was correct in claiming he had warned of a prolonged shutdown. “I don’t think it will, but I am prepared. I hope it doesn’t go on even before a few more days. It really could open very quickly.”
Watch both Schumer and Trump’s comments below:
“Absolutely, I said that," Trump replied when asked if he threatened to keep the government closed for "years" over border wall funding.
“I don’t think it will…and I hope it doesn’t go on even beyond a few more days,” he continued, also inviting Dems to negotiate this weekend pic.twitter.com/uYkHZH2nVN
— POLITICO (@politico) January 4, 2019
After confirming he would keep the shutdown going until Congressional Democrats decide to get tough on border security, the president was asked if he is still “proud” of the ordeal.
“I’m very proud of doing what I’m doing,” he quickly shot back. “I don’t call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country.”
.@HallieJackson: “Are you still proud to own this shutdown?
Pres. Trump: “I’m very proud of doing what I’m doing. I don’t call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and safety of our country.” pic.twitter.com/lWh4sm05R8
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 4, 2019
President Trump’s remarks to the press follow his “very, very productive meeting” with Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in hopes of working out a deal to reopen the government, which has been partially closed for nearly two weeks after Congress failed to pass a spending bill with $5 billion in border wall funding.
His words echoed those of Vice President Mike Pence in an interview on Thursday night, during which he laid it out plain and simple: “No wall, no deal.”
With the president hoping to keep one of his biggest campaign promises and Democratic leaders sticking to their guns, the lawmakers and Trump administration failed to strike a deal. The shutdown continues in the meantime.