Friday, 18 January, 2019

New Poll Finds Americans Overwhelmingly Blame Trump More Than Democrats for Shutdown

Donald Trump Modal Trigger AP
Deanna Wagner | 14 January, 2019, 02:36

Later on Saturday, in a telephone interview with Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, the president said if the Democrats "don't come to their senses" he would declare a national emergency to free up money for his wall without congressional approval. "I have the absolute right", he said.

With the exception of certain local employees overseas, the rest are working without pay, such as those tasked with supporting Mr Pompeo's trip, which has thus far taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Bahrain.

Pressed on whether he was confident he could strike a deal with Ms Pelosi, he said he had "no idea". One powerful Republican ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, tweeted after talks with Trump: "Mr. President, Declare a national emergency NOW".

Numerous government services have been curtailed, while some museums and parks have been closed during the shutdown.

Trump also shared on Saturday that should the Democrats change their mind about funding the border wall, the shutdown could end in a matter of minutes.

FILE - Vice President Mike Pence, center, looks on as House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Donald Trump argue during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Dec. 11, 2018, in Washington. "The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay".

The White House has contended that Democrats are refusing to negotiate, while Democrats accuse Trump of forcing government workers to go unpaid as leverage to get $5.7 billion for a wall that voters don't want.

"You get people ... saying walls are immoral", Trump said, after ticking off a litany of crimes committed both by and against immigrants. Many Republicans are wary, too.

"Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option - and I think we are nearly there - I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal", Mr Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

Sen. Richard Durbin of IL, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said on NBC News' "Meet the Press" that centrist Senate Republicans who sought to broker a deal last week should step forward and make an appeal to their party's leader in the chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"It's time for those centrists to speak up in their own Republican Senate caucus and tell Mitch McConnell, 'The party's over".

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President Trump said his southern border wall is needed to stop criminals from coming into the country who've committed "sexual crimes against children". "The Republican-controlled Senate and a handful of senators will make that decision".

Despite Trump's calls for Democrats to negotiate, Democratic leaders said it was the president who walked out of their last meeting, calling the negotiations a waste of time, according to news reports. "Whatever you want to call it, it's OK with me".

But Trump said Friday that he wasn't rushing to use that option, which would be challenged in court and, if not overturned, establish a precedent expanding the power of future Democratic presidents.

"This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and vote for money for the wall, the barrier", Trump said on Friday.

Johnson also accused Democrats of minimizing what he called a "crisis" at a border. "I will declare a national emergency", Trump said. "As a candidate, this is what he talked about, and if there's any mandate he can claim from his election, it was better border security and keeping this nation safe".

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told the West Block's Mercedes Stephenson that the three-week shutdown is a grudge match symbolizing the bigger ideological fight between Republicans and Democrats, but warned the country will face serious economic harm if it doesn't end soon.

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"Why is Mitch McConnell completely absent from these negotiations?"

This, as polls suggest Trump is getting most of the blame for the shutdown.

This story was originally reported in The Washington Post.