Local congressmen push back at Trump’s border closure threat

The US government began a Christmastime shutdown early on December 22 after Congress adjourned without passing a federal spen

Trump's outgoing chief of staff John Kelly, who has been largely uninvolved in the shutdown negotiations, said in an interview published Sunday that the wall Trump is hammering Democrats over is not actually a concrete wall and hasn't been since the early days of the administration.

If the partial government shutdown continues without a congressional deal to fund the wall, President Trump says, he'll be forced to shut down the border entirely.

"The president still says "wall.' Oftentimes frankly he'll say 'barrier" or 'fencing, ' now he's tended toward steel slats", Kelly said.

Trump's tweets come as Congress has effectively given up on breaking the impasse over the President's demands for border-wall funding, all but ensuring that the partial government shutdown will stretch into at least the start of the new year.

President Donald Trump's threats to close the U.S. -Mexico border would have disastrous consequences for U.S. trade and commerce, potentially costing billions of dollars, economic experts and local border-area leaders said Friday.

Asked about Trump's border-closing threat, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters it was an internal USA government matter.

Trump visited San Diego in March to review border wall prototypes commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, but he has not visited a Border Patrol station or USA port of entry.

There is no end in sight to President Donald Trump's government shutdown, despite the fact that he is at substantial political risk and has little hope of getting his border wall once Democrats are sworn in to exercise their new House majority.

The president has rejected the advice of Republican pollsters and strategists to declare that he holds a winning hand, predicting in a series of tweets that even losing the clash over border construction will lead him to re-election, all while threatening to "close" the border if Democrats do not blink on his $5 billion request for a new wall.

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"Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border ..." one of Trump's four tweets about the border said in part.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reacted cautiously to Trump's threat to close the border, calling it an "internal affair of the US government".

"Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people, I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids", Kelly told the Times.

It remains to be seen how much longer the partial shutdown of the USA federal government will continue.

During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly insisted that Mexico would fund the wall.

"To my Democratic friends: There will never be a deal without wall funding", Graham said.

The House on December 21 approved a spending bill that included $5.7 billion for border wall construction. Aides for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declined to reveal their whereabouts.

"We are far apart", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CBS on Friday. "The Democrats don't want to let us have strong borders, only for one reason".

"Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally".

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