Monday, 7 January 2019

Trump to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to make his case for a wall as the shutdown drags on

Trump to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border to make his case for a wall as the shutdown drags on
President Trump tours border wall prototypes near San Diego in March. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
President Trump will travel on Thursday to the U.S.-Mexico border to illustrate the case for a wall there, the White House announced Monday as a government funding impasse over the issue forced a partial federal shutdown into a third week with no end in sight.
“President @realDonaldTrump will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Monday. She said details about where Trump would go would be announced soon.
Trump also apparently wants to make a prime-time address to the nation on Tuesday night, according to a person familiar with the ongoing conversations between the White House and television networks.
Democrats and other critics, as well as some Republicans, have disputed Trump’s characterizations of conditions at the border as a national security crisis. His and Sanders’ claims that 4,000 terrorists have entered the country have been debunked by the State Department, which reported that no known terrorist had entered from Mexico.
Even as the pain of the shutdown is being increasingly felt, including at the nation’s airports and national parks and by federal employees working without pay, Trump emphasized again on Sunday that unless Democrats agreed to his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall, he was prepared for the standoff “to go on for a long time.”
“There's not going to be any bend right here,” he told reporters at the White House.
Trump also said that if the impasse persisted, he might declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and use existing funds for the military to construct a wall.
After stoking fears of a migrant caravan in the run-up to the November elections, the president has continued to depict a crisis on the border to pressure Democrats to accede to his demand.
Democrats have resisted and continue to try to pressure him to reopen the government before they will negotiate further on border security funding.
On Thursday, House Democrats approved two bills to reopen the government, one of which included $1.3 billion in border security funding. Senate Republicans, however, refused to take up the bills without Trump’s support, having passed similar bills unanimously last month only to have him oppose the legislation — provoking the shutdown on Dec. 22.
This week, House Democrats plan to pass similar bills, ratcheting up pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate and Trump.