As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

As US shutdown continues, President Trump switches to ‘steel barrier’

"They're looking at it and the president is considering it", Pence said during a media briefing alongside homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought in Washington. A Democratic aide said there was no progress. It was unclear what basis Trump could use to declare a national emergency.

Trump also plans a trip Thursday to the southern border to highlight his demands for the wall.

Illegal immigration has been a galvanizing issue for Trump's political base and Trump is making the calculus that the government shutdown is his best chance to pressure Democrats into ceding on funding for the border wall.

Trump tweets that he will address the nation at 9 p.m.

Trump maintains that more than $5 billion for a wall is necessary to secure the border. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed or working without pay.

Asked to explain how thoroughly the White House counsel's office has reviewed the possibility of an emergency declaration, Pence said it is something they have examined, but the administration would prefer to solve the problem of border security funding through Congress. "I may do it", Trump said.

The White House said the letter, as well as details provided during the meeting, sought to answer Democrats' questions about the funding request.

Two days later, Trump will head to the US-Mexico border to "meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Monday morning on Twitter.

George W. Bush has not discussed the wall with Trump, said spokesman Freddy Ford. He exhorted Democrats in Congress to "come back from vacation" and approve funding for his wall.

On Sunday, Trump pledged not to bend in his demand money for the wall but said the barrier could be made of steel instead of concrete as a potential compromise with Democrats who refuse to fund it.

Democrats returned to Washington in the new year, taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and passed legislation to reopen all closed government agencies but did not include wall funding. And former Vice President Joe Biden said he "can't think of a single" past president who wanted a border wall.

Trump stated in a Rose Garden news conference Friday: "This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me". Trump indicated to aides over the weekend that he was interested in delivering a prime-time address to call attention to the issue, but it was not immediately clear whether TV networks had agreed to clear airtime for a presidential address. Democrats say there has been no evidence of suspected terrorists coming through the southern border and that Trump has no grounds to declare a national emergency over the issue.

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