Trump holds firm on border wall, offers steel option as compromise

Parts of the border already have a wall such as here dividing Tijuana and San Diego County

Parts of the border already have a wall such as here dividing Tijuana and San Diego County

"I informed my folks to say that we'll build a steel barrier", Trump told reporters after returning to the White House from a senior staff meeting at Camp David, Maryland.

"These four bills, which are expected to be considered in the House this week, will immediately reopen key parts of the federal government and stop the harm the Trump Shutdown is inflicting on American families, businesses, and communities". I will have them come up with a template or design of a lovely steel product, which we now may use and use that as our barrier, ' he said.

The president then added, "But many of those people that won't be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I'm doing".

Talks led by Vice President Mike Pence to resolve the government shutdown have failed to reach an agreement over President Donald Trump's demand for money from Congress for a border wall with Mexico. The New York Times first reported Trump's desire to address the nation.

While Vice President Pence eagerly tweeted about weekend talks between the White House and Congress, there was one thing which stood out from the photos released by his office - there were no lawmakers from either party involved.

Trump's change in strategy comes as a partial government shutdown enters its 17th day, with seemingly neither side moving an inch in demands set out from the very beginning.

President Trump has floated the possibility of declaring a national emergency to get a barrier built on the U.S. -Mexico border.

Meanwhile, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) confirmed that Trump does have the authority to call a national emergency on the grounds of border security.

He also threatened to declare a national emergency in order to appropriate funding for the wall, a move that would bypass Congress.

But Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, seem in no mood to make concessions on a border wall Pelosi has described as an "immorality".

Security officers at U.S. airports have reportedly been calling in sick in droves since the shutdown began and their paycheques stopped rolling in.

The President has also claimed broad support overall for his border wall, even as support for the project has slipped. "They don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel".

While the substitution of a steel fence for a concrete wall was presented as a fresh attempt to compromise, Trump has been tweeting about a steel barrier for weeks, and on December 21 showed a prototype of a tall structure topped by sharp spikes.

Trump's allies say he is simply keeping a long-standing campaign promise and they frame his focus on his base as a smart strategy, since he will need to energize those supporters for his re-election campaign.

He quoted Mrs. Clinton in 2015 saying, "I voted, when I was a Senator, to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in". It may be better, ' Trump said Sunday. These workers typically receive back pay after a shutdown ends, but it is not guaranteed.

Both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to pin the blame the other side for the shutdown - a disruptive political ritual nearly unique to the American system.

"The Democrats, for better or worse, think they are winning this battle politically", Mulvaney said.

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