‘I’ll tell you this: If we don’t find a solution, it’s going to go on for a long time…’
“I don’t think I’ll have to,” he said at the White House before he left for Camp David.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said her caucus will not give him any money for a wall, as a partial government shutdown showed no signs of ending.
At Camp David, Trump was to meet with aides about border security. Meantime, Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials were scheduled to meet with congressional aides for a second consecutive day about border security and what a final deal might look like.
The two sides met for over two hours in Pence’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the White House. Pence again will lead negotiations on Sunday afternoon, and the president headed to the presidential retreat appearing eager to portray himself as involved in the talks.
“I’m totally involved. But I’m involved with principals,” he said. “Because ultimately, it’s going to be solved by the principals. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and myself can solve this in 20 minutes, if they want to. If they don’t want to, it’s going to go on for a long time.
“I’ll tell you this: If we don’t find a solution, it’s going to go on for a long time. There’s not going to be any bend right here,” Trump said.
The role of Trump’s conservative base, without whom his chances of winning re-election are almost zero, cannot be underplayed in the shutdown standoff.
The president indicated before nine Cabinet agencies and other federal offices ran out of money that he would sign a bipartisan stopgap measure passed the Senate that would have kept those agencies open through Feb. 8 to allow time for border wall talks, but he came out against that bill when conservative opinion-shapers warned him that he needed to make a stand on the border wall because it was a top campaign promise.
After he gave little indication during a Friday press conference that he has sympathy for federal workers who are out of work and not getting paid, the president contended Sunday that those workers would “make adjustments.” He said has empathy for them and can relate to their situations.
What’s more, Trump for the second time in three days threatened to use his executive powers to kick-start a project to build a wall over the objections of Democrats.
“I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days,” he said.
But even some of his closest Republican allies, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, say Congress still would have to approve any funding shifts to use already allocated money for a wall.
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