President Donald Trump on Sunday said he can relate to furloughed government workers as the partial government shutdown heads into its third week.
‘I can relate and I’m sure that the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do,’ the president told reporters as he headed to Camp David for a White House staff retreat.
‘But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,’ he added.
‘They will make an adjustment because they want to see the border taken care of,’ Trump said later Sunday as he stood firm that all would be well for federal workers.
‘It’ll all work out,’ he said.
President Trump said Sunday the government shutdown could go on a for a while
The shutdown entered day 16 with no progress in sight and the low expectations set by the president.
Trump said he doesn’t expect anything to come out of Sunday’s meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and congressional aides after a meeting of that group on Saturday produced no movement toward reopening the government.
The president said ‘very serious talks’ would continue on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the coming week.
But he stood firm on the $5 billion he wants to build his border wall.
‘There’s not going to be any bend right here,’ he said.
He also said, he, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi could get the government open in ’20 minutes’ if Democrats wanted.
‘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 a long time,’ he said.
‘I will tell this if we don’t find a solution it’s going to go on for a long time,’ he added.
He said he was holding firm because his supporters want a wall.
‘The people that voted for Donald Trump – and there’s a lot of people, it was one of the greatest elections ever – those people are for it so much. And let me tell you that people that didn’t vote for Donald Trump are for it also. They want border security,’ he said.
‘I don’t like doing this,’ he added. ‘I was elected to protect our country.’
‘I think I’m doing a great job,’ he noted.
The White House and Democrats are locked between the $5 billion Trump wants and the $1.3 billion Democrats have offered. Neither side will budge.
Trump said he thinks Democrats want to make a deal but he declined to say what he would offer – such as protections for Dreamers, the illegals brought to the U.S. by their parents as children – or if he would go down on wall funding to make that happen.
‘Everybody’s playing games but I’ll tell you this, I think the Democrats want to make a deal,’ the president said.
He also indicated he was looking at his options, including declaring a national emergency.
‘I may declare national emergency dependent on what going to happen in the next few days,’ Trump said.
Later in the day, upon his return from Camp David, he said: ‘We’re looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers.’
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Vice President Mike Pence, and White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller leave a Saturday meeting with Congressional aides on the government shutdown. The group will meet again Sunday
Trump said he, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (above) could have the government open in 20 minutes
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president was not fighting for a wall but for border security.
‘The president’s not fighting for the wall; he’s fighting for the protection of American citizens,’ she said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Trump on Friday first floated the idea of declaring a national emergency to take the money he needs for his border wall.
Such a move would likely face legal action.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he didn’t think Trump would be able to use emergency powers to build his wall.
‘Look, if Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border,’ Schiff said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘So that’s a non-starter.’
Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, presidents are allowed to take such an action in times of emergency if they notify Congress, specify the circumstances that make the situation an emergency and document all uses of executive authority.
Officials at the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense have researched the issue for the president, The New York Times reported.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said the president has asked his cabinet agencies to examine whether their departments have funds that can be diverted.
‘Presidents have authority to defend the nation,’ he said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’
‘The president has asked every single Cabinet secretary, and the Office of Management and Budget, to go out and find money that can be used legally to guard the Southern border,’ he noted.
The move has come as Trump finds himself between a rock and a hard place: his 2016 campaign promise to build a wall and increasing pressure from Republicans to get the government open.
The president on Sunday brushed aside a question on whether he’s lost any leverage in the talks as members of his party question on how long the shutdown will go on.
‘I have tremendous support within the Republican Party,’ he said.
On Friday, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis became the their GOP senator to call for the shutdown to end, joining Sens. Cory Gardner and Susan Collins.
‘I’ve never thought that shutdowns are an appropriate means of trying to achieve any kind of solution. This isn’t a matter of one side or the other caving in. It’s a matter of getting to a compromise, and that is a sign of strength. And it’s important that we remember that real lives are being affected here,’ Collins said Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’
Trump also sought to push the blame toward the Democrats.
‘This shutdown could end tomorrow or it could also go a long time. It’s really depending on the Democrats,’ he said.
‘You think I like doing this. I don’t like doing this but we have to have it,’ he noted.
Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing their own measures to reopen the goverment.
On Thursday, the first day House Democrats were in power, they passed two pieces of legislation to fund the government: one funded the Department of Homeland Security until Feb. 8 and the other funded all other closed departments – such as Justice, Interior, Transportation, Commerce and Agriculture – for the rest of the fiscal year through Sept. 30.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the president has asked his cabinet agencies to examine whether their departments have funds that can be diverted
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said he didn’t think Trump would be able to use emergency powers to build his wall
An estimated 380,000 federal employees in those departments have been furloughed and another 420,000 will have to work without pay. The clock is ticking to Jan. 11 – the first pay period for those workers that will encompass the entire time period of the shutdown.
Next week, Democrats plan to bring up individual bills to fund each department that is closed beginning with the Internal Revenue Service as fears mount tax returns could be delayed if the shutdown continues much longer.
But Trump has said he will not sign any legislation that doesn’t give him $5 billion for his wall.
And Senate Republicans said they will not bring up any legislation the president won’t sign.
‘We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt we’re not doing a wall,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, the day she returned to power.