'But these people behind you say it's worth it, ' Trump reportedly added, gesturing at communications aides Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway.
The president also referred to how drugs such as meth, heroin, and fentanyl were coming through the southern border, and that this would be stymied by a wall that would pay for itself with a new trade deal with Mexico.
Top news personalities including CNN's Chris Cuomo, Fox News Channel's Bret Baier and ABC's George Stephanopoulos attended the lunch, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. CBS was fourth with 1.71 million, followed by CNN with 1.39 million.
Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to "fear, not facts" and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says the group had a "robust exchange" and 'questions were asked and answered'.
MPs defeat May, urge her to rule out 'no deal' Brexit But the bloc refuses to reopen the agreement, and opposition to the negotiated deal remains strong among British lawmakers. MPs will begin five days of debate on the Brexit deal on Wednesday, before finally voting on it next Tuesday (15 January).
"The networks, I hope, yesterday struggled with the decision to put this on, because he consistently hasn't told the truth. But much of the debate centered around whether or not it is appropriate to give the president a forum to lie to us on television".
The late-night funnyman also took aim at the official Democratic response from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, which was widely mocked for their wooden delivery and weird staging, with the pair squished together behind one podium.
After Trump speaks, congressional Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), will be given time for their rebuttal, according to a CNNTweet.
Then came his joke: "They should either reject him outright, or if he insists on speaking in prime time, make him do it as a contestant on 'The Masked Singer, '" referencing the new singing competition show on Fox.
And yet this time around, all the major networks said they'd provide coverage of the speech.