Trump Twitter rants at press for exposing lack of support for his wall

President Donald Trump got an early start on Twitter on Saturday morning, saying he has ‘great support” for his border wall and government shutdown, while at the same time lashing out at the press for publishing reports that show otherwise.

On Twitter, Trump wrote: “Great support coming from all sides for Border Security (including Wall) on our very dangerous Southern Border. Teams negotiating this weekend! Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate (to put it mildly)!”

[Raw Story]

Trump says he is considering using emergency powers to build wall

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, saying “I can do it if I want.”

“We can call a national emergency because of the security … I haven’t done it. I may do it but we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” he said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

Trump has repeatedly talked about declaring a national emergency in recent months but hasn’t followed through yet, allowing the government to shut down over funding the wall rather than declaring one.

On Friday, he seemed to indicate that he would prefer to secure the funding through Congress.

“If we can do it through the negotiating process, we’re giving that a shot,” he said.

However, Trump also said he believes he doesn’t need congressional approval to build the wall.

“Absolutely,” Trump replied. “We can call a national emergency. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. It’s another way of doing it.”

Asked if that was a threat to Democrats, Trump said: “I never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do it — call a national emergency.”

“If we can do it through the negotiating process, we’re giving that a shot,” he said.

In December, defense officials from the Homeland Defense section of the Pentagon visited the White House for a meeting to discuss the possibility, three US officials have told CNN.

The meeting, which included officials from the Department of Homeland Security, focused on options that would allow Trump to build the border wall by tapping into military funding if he was unable to secure the money he wants from Congress.

[CNN]

Trump threatens to extend partial government shutdown for years

President Trump on Friday threatened to keep roughly a quarter of the federal government closed for years amid a dispute over border-wall funding, the latest sign the president and congressional Democrats remain far apart on resolving the two-week-long shutdown.

Trump confirmed after a heated, closed-door meeting that he “absolutely” told Democrats the shutdown could last more than a year, which was first revealed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) following the negotiation session inside the White House Situation Room.

“We told the president we needed the government open,” Schumer told reporters on the West Wing driveway after the meeting. “He resisted. In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

Addressing the news media later in the Rose Garden, the president expressed hope that the shutdown would not last that long, citing what he believes is Democrats’ willingness to strike a deal.

Despite the Democrats’ description of the two-hour meeting as “contentious,” Trump called it “productive” and said he appointed a working group of top administration officials to continue talks with lawmakers through the weekend.

“I thought it was really a very, very good meeting. We’re all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open,” the president said during a news conference that lasted roughly an hour.

But the president refused to back away from what he called his “very firm” demand for $5.6 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have repeatedly rejected that demand.

Trump also threatened to use emergency powers to build the wall, a move that would inflame tensions with Congress, where Democrats have taken control of the House, and raise legal questions about his executive authority.

“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked if he is considering declaring a national emergency to start wall construction if he doesn’t receive funding from Congress. “We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it.”

The government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, when Trump backed away from a spending agreement that he was expected to sign into law, one that didn’t include wall funding.

Around 800,000 workers across more than half a dozen agencies are closer to missing their next paycheck because of the funding lapse, and government services and museums have begun to shutter.

In one of their first acts in the majority, Democrats on Thursday passed a spending package that would reopen the vast majority of the closed parts of government while funding the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces immigration laws, through Feb. 8 to buy more time for spending talks.

“We cannot resolve this until we open up government,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after emerging from the White House on Friday.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to bring the House-passed measure to the floor for a vote, citing a veto threat from the White House.

Trump rejected Pelosi’s proposal to reopen most of the closed parts of government while wall talks continue, saying, “We won’t be opening until it’s solved.”

[The Hill]

Trump Tweets Out Intense Doomsday Video Warning of Border Crisis: ‘We Will Build the Wall!’

President Donald Trump is preparing Americans for the world ending.

In an intense video he tweeted out this afternoon, he promises to “build the wall,” as crowds of people are heard chanting,  “Build the wall! Build the wall!” in the background:

The President’s video decries the “crisis on the border,” which is causing an uptick in “crime, drugs, and lawlessness” across the border and includes a clip of Senator Chuck Schumer denouncing illegal immigration.

[Mediaite]

Trump falsely claims Mexico is paying for wall, demands taxpayer money for wall in meeting with Democrats

President Trump rejected a plan from Democrats on Wednesday to reopen key parts of the federal government, as a meeting of the country’s top political leaders disbanded with no sign of progress toward ending the partial shutdown.

The president is demanding more than $5 billion to build a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. House Democrats plan to advance legislation that would reopen key parts of the government but deny Trump any additional money for a wall, as one of their first acts after they take control of the chamber on Thursday.

But Trump told congressional leaders he will not sign the measure, said incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who attended the meeting.

“The president’s not going to sign it . . . Now’s the time to come together, find common ground and solve this problem,” Mc­Carthy said. “I didn’t find the Democrats were wanting to negotiate today.”

Trump has invited congressional leaders back to the White House on Friday for more discussions. But neither side offered any indication that a deal was within reach.

The jostling from Trump and top Democrats reflects how Washington’s new balance of power will not break the impasse that has shuttered large parts of the government since Dec. 22. And with no obvious path to a compromise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said the shutdown could drag on for “weeks.”

The 12-day government shutdown has entered a new and unruly phase. Before the meeting, Trump leveled a series of false claims about immigration and the federal budget. Democrats countered by accusing the president of intransigence and said they would not yield to his demands.

“We have given the Republicans a chance to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after the meeting. Earlier, Trump said the shutdown would go on “as long as it takes.”

The shutdown began Dec. 22, and its effects are spreading, particularly in the Washington region. The Smithsonian Institution closed its museums and the National Zoo on Wednesday. Trash and human waste are piling up at national parks.

The District of Columbia has stopped issuing marriage licenses because of cutbacks to its funding, and the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and a number of other agencies have suspended or scaled back a range of services for families and businesses.

As Trump and Democrats scrap over the wall, both sides have all the power they need to block the other. Democrats can use their House majority — or a Senate filibuster — to stall any legislation that includes additional money for a wall. Trump can veto any bill that doesn’t, and Senate Republicans have said they won’t advance any legislation that lacks the president’s blessing.

Trump wants $5.6 billion for the construction of 200 miles of wall along the Mexican border. Some Republicans have suggested he would be willing to accept a lesser amount, but he tried to dismiss this idea on Wednesday.

He also rejected the negotiating position of his own top advisers. Vice President Pence in December approached Democrats with a compromise offer of $2.5 billion for border security and wall improvements. But Trump on Wednesday said he would never accept that deal.

“Somebody said $2.5 (billion),” Trump said to reporters. “No. Look, this is national security we’re talking about.”

Democrats have signaled a willingness to approve $1.3 billion for border security as part of a broader spending bill, and a portion of that money could be used to replace and repair existing sections of wall and fencing. But they have drawn the line at the use of any additional taxpayer money for the construction of a new wall.

The president on Wednesday continued to advance false claims about where the wall money would come from and why it is needed.

He said the wall would be paid for by Mexico through savings to the United States under a new North American trade agreement. But the trade agreement has yet to be approved by Congress, and trade experts said such savings are uncertain.

He also wrote in a Twitter post that “Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built.” This is also not true. Some wall and fencing has been replaced during the Trump administration, but there is little evidence that new barriers have been established along the 2,000-mile border.

And in remarks to reporters during a televised cabinet meeting, Trump estimated there are between 30 million and 35 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. That number is roughly triple the estimate his own Department of Homeland Security offered several weeks ago.

Pelosi is under extreme pressure from liberal groups not to give in to White House pressure for any wall funding. McCarthy said Trump wanted to have the next meeting on Friday, after leadership elections in Congress, and Trump has suggested Pelosi is opposing money for the border wall because she is worried about losing support from liberals.

But Pelosi has rejected the notion she is opposing the wall for purely political purposes, and many Democrats have rallied to her defense.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and earlier in his presidency, Trump told voters he said he would build a concrete wall, 30 feet tall in most places, to keep people out. He also promised Mexico would pay for the wall. Since becoming president, though, he has shifted this promise, saying the money must come from U.S. taxpayers.

During the shutdown, Trump has offered much different descriptions of the barrier he wants to build along the Mexico border. He has said at times it would be a traditional wall, but he has also rejected the idea of a wall and described it as a series of “steel slats.” He recently offered a picture on Twitter of vertical posts with pointy tips, but other government officials said they were not planning to erect anything that looked like this.

The shutdown began after Trump rejected bipartisan congressional efforts to fund many operations through Feb. 8, insisting that any deal must contain wall money. His demand infuriated many Republicans who had been working to avoid a shutdown, but most have followed his lead and are insisting Democrats broker some sort of compromise.

Democrats on Wednesday sought to ramp up pressure on Republicans to reopen the government, even suggesting they push off a debate about the border wall to a later date.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown,’” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said after the White House meeting. “He could not give a good answer.”

Two congressional aides briefed on the exchange said Trump told Schumer the president would “look foolish” if he backed down now. White House officials didn’t respond to requests for comment on this exchange.

Despite the far-reaching impacts of the shutdown, much of the federal government has not been touched. Major agencies like the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services have already been funded through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, thanks to spending bills passed by Congress last year.

House Democrats on Thursday plan to pass two bills: one to fund the Homeland Security Department at its current level through Feb. 8, which would continue the $1.3 billion in border barrier funding; and the other to fund the rest of the government through Sept. 30, at levels negotiated on a bipartisan basis in the Senate.

That would make it possible for McConnell to send Trump a bill to reopen most of the government, while setting aside the fight over the wall.

Trump and some conservative Republicans have said the fight over wall funding is necessary now because it’s the best point of leverage, believing Democrats will rush to fund government programs and offer up some money in return for GOP votes. That has proved not to be the case.

Wednesday’s meeting was crafted by the White House as an opportunity for DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to brief Democrats on problems along the Mexico border, but Democrats quickly interjected and said they wanted to talk about efforts to reopen the government.

The last time Schumer and Pelosi met Trump at the White House, on Dec. 11, it turned into a bizarre televised squabble during which Trump claimed he would be “proud” to shut down the government over the wall and insisted he would take ownership of any shutdown. The agencies that are unfunded and in shutdown mode include the Homeland Security, which pays for the wall; as well as the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Interior, Transportation, State, and Housing and Urban Development. NASA is also partially shut down, along with the National Park Service and an array of smaller agencies.

Some 800,000 federal workers are affected, including around 350,000 who have been furloughed while the rest stay on the job wondering whether they will end up getting paid. In past shutdowns, Congress has approved retroactive pay once the impasse has been resolved. But the many government contractors affected may never make up their lost paychecks.

The current shutdown is the longest since a 16-day partial shutdown in 2013 over the Affordable Care Act.

[Washington Post]

Trump Makes All-Caps New Year’s Decree: ‘MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL’

With the Federal government in its 10th day of a shutdown as President Donald Trump tries to secure funds in the budget for a Southern border wall, the commander-in-chief is reverting back to his original campaign promise about where the money is coming from.

In a Monday night tweet fired off just a few hours before the ball drop in Times Square, the president claimed that Mexico will be financing the wall by way of the trade pact they signed earlier in 2018.

“MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through the many billions of dollars a year that the U.S.A. is saving through the new Trade Deal, the USMCA, that will replace the horrendous NAFTA Trade Deal, which has so badly hurt our Country,” Trump wrote. “Mexico & Canada will also thrive – good for all!”

Earlier, Trump also taped a brief New Year’s message for his followers:

“While I’m at the White House working, you’re out there partying tonight. But I don’t blame you. Enjoy yourselves. We’re gonna have a great year. Have a really, really Happy New Year.”

[Mediaite]

Trump compares border wall to ‘Wall around’ Obama home

President Donald Trump compared his proposed border wall on Sunday with a fence-like barrier that surrounds the Washington home of Barack and Michelle Obama.

“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!”

The Obamas bought their home in the Kalorama neighborhood in 2017 for $8 million after renting it for 2½ years, according to TODAY.

TMZ first reported in 2017 that the couple was building a fence-like wall and published photos showing what appeared to be the construction of a few brick columns. The project has since been completed.

Another photo of the home in Town and Country magazine showed a metal gate and brick columns. The Obamas also added guard booths.

A spokeswoman for the Obamas declined to comment, but in her book “Becoming,” published in November, Michelle Obama wrote that Trump’s embrace of false conspiracy theories had made her fear for her family’s security.

“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?” she wrote. “What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk.”

Trump’s tweet comes amid a partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 over his demand that Congress fund a $5 billion wall on the United States’ southern border. He threatened to “close” the border if the money was not approved.

Congressional Democrats, who take control of the House of Representatives after returning to Washington next month, have shown little interest in funding what incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff called an “immoral, ineffective and expensive wall — the wall that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for.”

After a meeting with Trump on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters that “on multiple fronts the president is in a good mood.”

“He feels like he’s got to deliver on the promise of securing our border,” Graham said, adding, “He’s very open minded about combining wall funding with other things to make it a win-win for the country.”

[NBC News]

Trump: I may be forced to seal southern border, cut off aid to Central America

President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the nation’s southern border if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.

“We build the wall or,” Trump wrote in a string of tweets. ” … close the southern border.”

Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, told reporters on Friday the president is “absolutely” willing to shut down the southern border, despite the enormous cost to the country.

“All options are on the table,” Mulvaney said. “Listen, it’s the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention.”

Trump also said he would cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where violence and crime have motivated thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the United States. He also said another migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.

Trump’s string of tweeted threats comes as the partial government shutdown reaches its first full week amid a spending bill feud between Congress and the president.

Trump refused to sign a short-term funding bill last week that would have pushed the spending fight to February, insisting that Congress allocate billions for the border wall.

In a second tweet, the president claimed that building the wall would be a “profit making operation.” The president also complained about Mexico stealing American jobs and undermining the auto industry and said Central America’s violence-riddled Northern Triangle countries were “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on Thursday that another caravan of migrants from Honduras was forming, with as many as 15,000 migrants undergoing the lengthy asylum request process, potentially adding to the backlog of asylum-seekers who are currently in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Friday on CBS that the president was willing to negotiate the amount of border funding Congress gives him.

“I’m not going to negotiate in the press, but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point,” she said. “And the Democrats have not been willing to do anything. And that’s the sad part, they care more about keeping our borders open than keeping our government open.”

On Fox News, Mulvaney said the administration had already offered Democrats a number “less than” $5 billion in negotiation, but Democrats had held firm to their offer of $1.3 billion dollars in border funding.

[NBC News]

Trump spends his Christmas Eve ranting about his enemies and the Fed’s rate hikes

President Donald Trump spent the early hours of Christmas Eve attacking his political enemies and criticizing the Federal Reserve, as the government entered its third day of partial shutdown and markets tanked yet again.

“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter.

The tweet came minutes after the president posted attacks on the Fed, Democrats, the top Republican lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the special envoy in charge of combatting ISIS, who announced over the weekend that he would be resigning at the end of the month after Trump decided to pull American troops from Syria.

Trump, who canceled a planned vacation to Florida as 800,000 federal employees remain without pay, spent the morning posting his grievances on Twitter.

The president’s posts come amid growing uncertainty in Washington. The shutdown continued without a resolution in sight. Meanwhile the administration itself remains in a state of flux after the surprise departure of Defense Secretary James Mattis, which Trump accelerated by two months over the weekend.

As stocks tumbled following the worst week for markets since the 2008 financial crisis, the president wrote on Twitter that the “only problem our economy has” is the Fed, accusing the central bank of not having “a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders.”

The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to keep prices stable and achieve maximum employment. The Fed aims to accomplish those goals primarily by setting interest rates at a level that will prevent runaway inflation or deflation.

Last week, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year and signaled it would hike rates twice in 2019.

[CNBC]

Trump Lashes Out at ‘Mostly FAKE’ News About the Shutdown, Says ‘It Could Be a Long Stay’

President Donald Trump tweeted this morning to decry “mostly FAKE” news about the shutdown and his decision to withdraw from Syria.

“I am in the White House, working hard,” the President tweeted. “News reports concerning the Shutdown and Syria are mostly FAKE. We are negotiating with the Democrats on desperately needed Border Security (Gangs, Drugs, Human Trafficking & more) but it could be a long stay.”

He also defended his Syria decision, though he said this time that ISIS is “largely defeated.”

Trump’s tweets were posted around the time news broke that the top U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting ISIS submitted his resignation yesterday over his objections to the President’s Syria announcement.

[Mediaite]

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