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Trump walks out of shutdown talks with a 'bye-bye'

January 10th, 2019 | Tags:
Trump walks out of shutdown talks with a 'bye-bye'. Photo: BBC News
How did the meeting go? Photo: BBC News
How did the meeting go? Photo: BBC News
BBC News

WASHINGTON, US - President Donald Trump has walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders as negotiations broke down on the 19th day of a partial US government shutdown.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer stuck by their refusal to fund his US-Mexico border wall, prompting Mr Trump to call the meeting "a total waste of time".

Democrats again accused the president of throwing a "temper tantrum".

The first payday since the shutdown began is due on Friday for 800,000 federal workers, who will go unpaid.

Mr Trump has demanded $5.7bn (£4.5bn) to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge. But Democrats - who control the House of Representatives - have refused to back the funding.

How did the meeting go?

It was certainly brief, at only 14 minutes. The president hosted the Democratic Party leaders in the Situation Room, the conference centre in the West Wing basement.

Mr Trump posed a direct question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about whether she would fund the wall. His tweet following the meeting reflected the outcome of that - he said "bye-bye" and left:

Mr Schumer confirmed the exchange, saying: "He [Mr Trump] asked Speaker Pelosi, 'Will you agree to my wall?' She said no.

"And he just got up and said, 'Then we have nothing to discuss,' and he just walked out. Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way."

Mr Schumer reportedly asked Mr Trump: "You are using people as leverage; why won't you open the government and stop hurting people?"

A White House official told the New York Times Mr Trump had said: "I am trying to do the right thing for the country. This isn't about politics."

"The president walked into the room and passed out candy," he said. "I don't recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand."

Kevin McCarthy, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said he found the Democrats' behaviour "embarrassing".

On Tuesday, Mr Trump delivered his first televised Oval Office address to the nation, where he described the border as a humanitarian and security crisis. The Democrats called the president's claims a fake threat.

 

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