On Tuesday, President Donald Trump publicly argued with Democratic congressional leaders at the White House and threatened he would be “proud” to shut down the government should the party fail to support funding for the southern border wall to curb illegal immigration.

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government — this country needs border security,” Trump said while speaking in the Oval Office to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the likely next Speaker of the House. Both Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly voiced their fervent opposition to funding the border wall as a compromise on immigration. The pair reportedly asked the president on Tuesday to keep their discussions on the issue private, but instead it took place in front of several television cameras. Vice President Mike Pence was also in the Oval Office as Trump sparred with Pelosi and Schumer.

“It’s not bad, Nancy; it’s called transparency,” Trump told Pelosi after the veteran California congressman seemed to anger the president by criticizing his proposal of the wall and citing its large economic cost and by pointing that this was a senseless reason to shut down the federal government. “The American people recognize that we must keep government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything, and that we should not have a Trump shutdown,” Pelosi stated.


Trump and lawmakers must agree to a deal on immigration by Dec. 21 in order to avoid a shutdown.

In remarks to reporters after the Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, Schumer blasted Trump for his petulant behavior on the issue. “This temper tantrum that [Trump] seems to throw will not get him his wall and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown,” said Schumer.

In a joint statement late Monday, Pelosi and Schumer also said: “This holiday season, the president knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate, and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”

Trump’s remarks on the wall appeared slightly different than usual Tuesday morning. In a series of tweets, he falsely claimed that large portions of the “Great Wall” along the border with Mexico — one of his longest-standing 2016 campaign promises — have already been finished and that his administration could keep pushing for its construction regardless of whether or not congressional Democrats choose to fund it. He also claimed Democratic lawmakers “voted for a Wall” in 2006 and warned that the military could help build the rest of the wall if the party continues to refuse to provide funding for it.

Trump drew criticism in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections for spreading fear about illegal immigration, particularly the so-called “migrant caravan” of thousands of people from Latin America traveling across the continent to reach the southern border. The president deployed more than 5,000 troops to the border as a response to the caravan and warned migrants could be shot by the military if they throw rocks as a defense. Trump even shared a racist immigration ad on Twitter that depicted a Mexican national as a “cop killer.”

Meanwhile, many Republican lawmakers are reportedly dedicated to supporting Trump and his insistence on increased border security, including funding for the wall if necessary.

Recent reports have noted that Trump is feeling nervous for several reasons. Aside from Democrats gaining the majority in the House of Representatives in the midterm elections — which means they can investigate Trump on a series of issues, including his tax returns — the president is mired in several scandals including Special Counsel Robert Muellers probe, which continues to produce guilty charges and indictments. On top of all this, Trump is also said to be worried about impeachment given new revelations about him being directly implicated in his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen‘s hush money payments to his alleged mistresses. Cohen pleaded guilty to several charges this year, including bank and tax fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress and will be sentenced Wednesday to a “substantial” prison term of about four to five years.


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