Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the US southern border with Mexico entirely if his demands for money to build a wall there are not met.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump said on Twitter.
We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2018
“The United States loses [sic] soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a ‘profit making operation,’” Trump said. “Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border.”
The threats came on the seventh day of a partial government shutdown that began when the president refused to accept legislation to fund government agencies unless it also contained money for the wall.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said on Friday the sides were “far apart” since Democrats will not consider funding a border wall.
“They’ve left the table altogether, so of course we’re far apart, because they’re unwilling to actually do something to help protect our borders,” said Sanders.
Mick Mulvaney, the incoming acting White House chief of staff, said the White House had offered to accept some amount less than $5bn for the wall, though he would not say what number they proposed.
“The Democrats have simply shut down the discussions. They did not even counter us,” he said Friday on Fox News.
Mulvaney said he believed that the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, was “really interested in doing a deal and coming to some sort of compromise”, but Pelosi was “preventing that from happening”.
Many government agencies have been shut down for the last week, after their funding expired when Trump declared he would not accept an extension unless it contained $5bn for his border wall.
About 800,000 federal workers have either been placed on leave or required to work without pay.
Democrats have offered support for $1.3 billion in funding for general border security, but have long opposed the building of a wall.