Trump warns shutdown could last ‘years,’ says he could declare 'national emergency' to build border wall
President Trump holds surprise press briefing to discuss border security; Kevin Corke reports from the White House.
Congressional leaders met at the White House on Friday for the second time this week as the partial government shutdown drags on with no end in sight -- with Democrats refusing to fund a wall on the southern border, and Republicans warning “if there’s no wall, there’s no deal.”
The meeting came on the 14th day of the shutdown, which was triggered by disagreements over the funding of Trump’s promised wall, after Democrats formally took control of the House of Representatives. Trump has said that $5 billion in funding for the wall is non-negotiable, while Democrats have said they will fund more general border security -- but not the wall.
Trump was expected to meet with Democratic and Republican leaders of both chambers. Ahead of the meeting Trump sent a letter to members of Congress congratulating Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on her election as speaker, and called on Congress to re-open the government.
“As we begin this new Congress, our first task should be to reopen the Government and to deliver on our highest duty as elected officials: the security of the Nation and its borders," he said. “It is the sovereign right of every nation to establish an immigration program in its national interest—lawfully admitting those who have followed the rules, while denying entry to those who break the rules or fail to meet the requirements established in law."
As part of his strategy, he made available to every member a presentation on border security that he said those present at a meeting Wednesday did not want to hear.
“Americans have endured decades of broken promises on illegal immigration. Now, is the time for both parties to rise above the partisan discord, to set aside political convenience, and to put the national interest first,” he wrote.
Democrats, meanwhile, passed legislation in the House that would fund the whole government, but not the wall. Pelosi accused Republicans of holding government workers hostage for the separate demand of a wall.
"The wall and the government shutdown really have nothing to do with each other," Pelosi said at an MSNBC Town Hall.
"There is no reason to have workers pay a price with their paycheck," she said
The legislation was immediately dismissed by Republican leadership. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bills “a time-wasting act of political posturing” and said that “a resolution will have to be palatable to House Democrats and Senate Republicans alike.”
“We need to make policy rather than simply making political theatre,” he told reporters.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on "Fox & Friends" earlier Friday that it would be up to Pelosi to get her party behind her, including the left flank pushing for impeachment.
“We think we're hopeful because the people that elected Nancy Pelosi didn't elect her to come up here and do nothing and didn't elect her to play political games,” she said. “They elected her to find real solutions and actually work with the president and work with all members of Congress to get things done.”
On Thursday night, Vice President Mike Pence said on Fox News' “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the terms of the negotiations were clear: "Bottom line, if there's no wall, there's no deal."
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.