A furious President Donald Trump walked out of a White House meeting with the top two Democrats in Congress on Wednesday when they refused to promise they would fund his border wall project in exchange for ending a weeks-old government shutdown.
'Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,' Trump tweeted, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who met with him in the Situation Room.
'I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!'
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters gathered outside the West Wing that Trump had indeed ended the meeting quickly when Pelosi said Democrats were not prepared to make him any guarantees.
Schumer said at the microphones on the South Lawn of the White House: 'We saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting.'
'He said it was a waste of his time,' Senate Minority Whip Steny Hoyer sniffed.
Pelosi charged that Trump 'seems to be insensitive' to the impact of a partial government shutdown on rank-and-file federal employees who will see their first lapse in payroll on Friday.
'He thinks maybe they can just ask their father for more money. But they can't,' she jabbed.
President Donald Trump, pictured Wendesday on Capitol Hill, stormed out of a Situation Room meeting with the top two Democrats in Congress hours later after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to promise Congress would green-light his border wall funding in exchange for an end to the partial government shutdown that has persisted for nearly three weeks
Trump tweeted that the meeting was 'a total waste of time' and wrote that he 'said bye-bye' after Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi refused to cut a deal with him
Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, has held fast to her demand that Trump sign bills funding the shuttered government agencies before she will negotiate on how to fund new border security initiatives – but has shown no interest in helping Trump fulfil his signature campaign promise to wall off Mexico from the United States
Schumer said at the microphones on the South Lawn of the White House: 'We saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting'
Pelosi added that she had told the president that 'the evidence does not support the situation you describe,' referring to his claims that human trafficking, narcotics smuggling and a criminal epidemic constitute a border crisis.
Pence and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy played clean-up, painting a picture of a congenial meeting that the Democrats fouled through sheer stubbornness.
'The president walked into the room and passed out candy,' Pence said. 'I don't recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand. This is a president who feels very strongly about his commitment to see to the security of the American people.'
McCarthy claimed Trump 'turned to the speaker and politely asked her, "Okay, Nancy, if we open the government up in 30 days, could we have border security?"'
'She raised her hand and said, "No, not at all",' he recalled. 'The president calmly said, "I guess you're still not wanting to deal with the problem." The president wants to solve this problem. That's why he continues to bring us down. That's why he's put offers on the table. Not once have the Democrats offered anything back.'
Trump had vowed hours earlier to let the shutdown continue and allow 'whatever it takes' unfold so he can win support for his border wall, storming Capitol Hill to convince Republicans they should stick with him on day 19 of the crisis.
Trump walked up the steps of the U.S. Capitol for a lunch with Senate Republicans, who have been showing signs of impatience with his demand for full funding of his border wall in order to reopen the government.
'How long are you willing to let this shutdown last, Mr. President?' a reporter asked him as he strode down the ornate hallway outside the Senate chamber.
'Whatever it takes,' Trump replied.
Trump's latest offensive comes the morning after his first Oval Office address to the nation, where he sought to turn the tide of lawmaker and public support his way.
His visit came as more Republicans are getting vocal about their concerns the shutdown has gone on too long with some saying it's time to reopen the government even without a guarantee of full funding for Trump's border wall.
The president played down what's happening in his party when asked about it during his visit to Capitol Hill.
'There is tremendous Republican support. Unwavering,' he said.
He met with the Senate Republicans for a little more than an hour and reiterated his unity message.
'The Republicans are totally unified,' he said.
'I would say that we have a very, very unified party. Mitch has been fantastic, everybody in that room was fantastic,' he said of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. 'There was not reason for me even to be there, I knew that before we went.'
He also got in a dig at Democrats before his meeting at the White House with Schumer and Pelosi.
President Donald Trump vowed to let the shutdown continue for 'whatever it takes'
President Trump and Vice President Pence arrive for lunch with Senate Republicans
President Trump went to Capitol Hill with Vice President Mike Pence to convince Republicans to stay by his side
President Trump and Vice President Pence met with Senate Republicans for a little more than hour; here they chat with GOP leadership after their meeting
Trump implied the Democrats were holding out against his wall to make it a political issue in the 2020 presidential election.
'The only reason they're against it is because I won the presidency and they think they can try and hurt us going into the presidency, but that's not going to happen. We don't give up. Because we're doing, we're doing the right thing for our country,' he said.
'I don't care politically, I'm doing what's right for the country. It is a very bad political issue for the Democrats,' he noted.
The president also dropped new hints on Wednesday that he's prepared to go around lawmakers and build his border wall without a deal for new congressional spending.
'I may do that,' he said during his visit to the Capitol.
Trump beat that drum throughout Wednesday, offering a warning of his powers ahead of his meeting with Congressional leaders.
'I really believe the Democrats and the Republicans are working together,' Trump said during an afternoon bill-signing event.
But 'otherwise,' he warned, 'we'll go about it in a different manner.'
'I don't think we'll have to do that,' Trump chided unseen Democrats through a press pool that included TV cameras.
'I think we might work a deal,' he said. 'And if we don't, we might go that route.' Trump said he has the 'absolute right' to declare an emergency, declaring that the only meaningful 'threshold' for making that decision would be the failure of his team and negotiators in Congress to cut a deal.
'My threshold will be if I can't make a deal with people who are unreasonable,' he said.
Following his soft-pedal approach to making his case for renewed border security spending during a Tuesday night Oval Office address, Trump's shift back to baring his fangs instead of begging for cooperation left his own aides confused.
'We honestly don't know what he's doing,' one White House official told DailyMail.com after the bill-signing.
Another said fellow aides were 'playing wait-and-see just like the rest of you [reporters], but if it keeps the Democrats as off-balance as we are, maybe that's good.'
President Trump said he has an 'absolute right' to declare an emergency and go around Democrats for wall funding
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, pictured posing after Tuesday's response to President Donald Trump's Oval Office address, will be at the White House on Wednesday to kick-start negotiations over Trump's border wall and an extended government shutdown
Trump spoke for nine minutes from the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday, shaming congressional Democrats as he blamed them for bloodshed caused by illegal immigrants
Trump's preference for a border wall over other security measures hasn't changed.
'We can all play games but a wall is a necessity. ... If you don't have the wall it doesn't matter,' the president said Wednesday. 'A drone isn't stopping a thousand people running through.'
'They say it's a medieval solution,' he complained. 'It's true. It's medieval because it worked then.'
Trump headed to Capitol Hill after his bill-signing to speak with Senate Republicans. He expects to see House and Senate leaders from both parties at the White House later in the afternoon.
Half of that retinue will be his arch-nemeses, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The Democratic duo will take the 16-block limousine ride from the U.S. Capitol to the White House for a new round of sparring over an 18-day-old government shutdown, a day after President Donald Trump used an Oval Office address to move the debate over border security back where it started.
But the president's suggestion that he's still willing to turn them into spectators will change the dynamic in the room.
Pelosi and Schumer held a joint press conference Wednesday morning to double down on their refusal to give Trump what he wants – $5.7 billion for new border wall construction in exchange for restoring the operations of about one-quarter of the government.
More than half Trump's Cabinet agencies have been in limbo since a few days before Christmas; he said Tuesday night that 'a 45-minute meeting' could resolve the stalemate.
Schumer and Pelosi aren't likely go give any ground, despite Trump's assurance on Tuesday that the stalemate over border security could be solved in a 45-minute meeting
Trump suggested Wednesday morning that border security is a weak spot in America's otherwise strong carapace
He stopped short of declaring that emergency on Tuesday night while reiterating his demand that congressional Democrats fund a border wall that he has promised for nearly four years.
But he played the shame card with a vengeance, blaming them for playing politics with innocent American lives and allowing 'a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul' to fester.
'How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?' Trump asked in a 9-minute speech from the Oval Office.
Citing a string of murders committed by illegal immigrants who have been previously deported form the United States, he demanded of lawmakers: 'For those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken.'
'To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis.'
On Wednesday morning the presidnet suggested that border security is a rare bleak spot in America's outlook, tweeting that the nation 'is doing so well in so many ways. Great jobs numbers, with a record setting December. We are rebuilding our military. Vets finally have Choice & Accountability. Economy & GDP are strong. Tax & Reg cuts historic. Trade deals great.'
'But we MUST fix our Southern Border!'
Trump is demanding $5.7 billion in new congressional spending for his long-promised border wall
Pelosi and Schumer delivered the Democrats' response after Trump spoke, framing the conflict as Trump's personal, uninformed crusade as they insisted they won't bend and agree to his terms
The President tweeted after his address to acknowledge 'soooo many nice comments' about his speech amid the ongoing battle with congressional Democrats
Trump said Tuesday that child trafficking and sexual violence against women who try to migrate into the U.S. illegally is a 'cycle of human suffering' that he's determined to end.
He implored Americans to call their members of Congress 'and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border. This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice.'
The White House has requested $5.7 billion in new funding to continue the wall's construction. The president passed up the option to declare an emergency on Tuesday and spend existing Defense Department dollars to build it without Congress.
An art exhibit occupies part of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on the Tijuana, Mexico side; Trump wants to erect more sections like it in hundreds of miles of border territory where no barriers exist
A U.S. Marine stood outside the doors to the West Wing of the White House on Tuesday night ahead of Trump's address, signifying that the president was working and not in the presidential residence quarters
Trump says he can declare a national emergency to build his wall and is keeping it as an option
Instead he returned to his previous lines of argument, claiming a border security crisis has resulted in a flood of narcotics and human trafficking, and endangering Americans' lives.
Trump plans to host congressional leaders from both parties at the White House for negotiations on Wednesday, followed by a Capitol Hill visit to brief Republicans
He will visit the southern border on Thursday to highlight his demand for a wall.
After his address Tuesday night, Trump tweeted: 'Thank you for soooo many nice comments regarding my Oval Office speech. A very interesting experience!'
The New York Times reported that Trump told a lunchtime meeting of news executives and anchors on Tuesday that he was inclined to skip the border trip – and the Tuesday night speech – but his advisers persuaded him to follow through.
'It's not going to change a damn thing, but I'm still doing it,' Trump told them, pointing to senior communications aides Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway and observing that 'these people behind you say it's worth it.'
The conflict between Trump and congressional Democrats led to a partial shutdown of the federal government a few days before Christmas. Without an agreement on how to fund about one-quarter of the government, the affected agencies can't reopen.
About 780,000 federal workers are either on unpaid furlough or being forced to work without pay. All will receive back pay when the shutdown ends, but they are likely to miss regularly scheduled paychecks on Friday.
Responding on Capitol Hill, Pelosi and Schumer framed the conflict as Trump's personal, uninformed crusade as they insisted they won't bend and agree to his terms.
'Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,' Pelosi said.
'The president has chosen fear.'
Trump passed on the chance to declare a national emergency on the southern border, a move that would have empowered him to freely spend the Pentagon's existing budget to build his wall without getting new funding from Congress
'The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge – a challenge that President Trump's own cruel and counterproductive policies have only deepened,' Pelosi added.
Schumer was equally slashing.
'Having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill [Trump] has shut down the government,' the New York Democrat said.
'American democracy doesn't work that way. We don't govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.'
In his own speech, Trump noted Schumer's past approval of a wall on America's southern border. The White House has promoted the historical fact of Schumer and former senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all voting for it during the George W. Bush presidency.
Schumer 'has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats,' he said. 'They changed their mind only after I was elected president. Democrats in Congress have refused to recognize the crisis.'
Trump cited statistics in his brief presentation, saying that in the past two years immigration officers 'made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records,' including '100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 violent killings.'
'Thousands more lives will be lost if we don't act right now,' he urged.
READ TRUMP'S BORDER SECURITY ADDRESS TO THE NATION
My fellow Americans: Tonight I'm speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country. We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.
'America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation, but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.
'Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 per cent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.
'In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don't act right now.
'This is a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul.
'Last month 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States, a dramatic increase. These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs. One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.
'This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border. This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end. My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers. It's a tremendous problem.
'Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the department of homeland security. These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe – in fact, safer than ever before.
'The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband and many other things. We have requested more agents, immigration judges and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support. Furthermore, we have asked congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.
'Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It's also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.
'The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.
'Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president.
'Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis, and they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation. The federal government remains shut down for one reason, and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security. My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation, but the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government.
'This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting. I have invited congressional leadership to the white house tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.
'Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don't build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is [for] the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.
'America's heart broke the day after Christmas when a young police officer was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien who just came across the border. The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country. Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders. In California an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history. In Georgia an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading and dismembering his neighbor. In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.
'Over the last several years I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigrations. I have held the hands of the mothers and embraced the grief stricken fathers. So sad, so terrible. I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices and the sadness gripping their souls.
'How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?
'To those that refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken. To every member of Congress, pass a bill that ends this crisis. To every citizen: call congress, and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border.
'This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.
'When I took the oath of office, i swore to protect our country, and that is what I will always do, so help me god. Thank you and good night.'
A woman walks a dog next to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier along the Pacific Ocean on January 8, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez slammed Trump in a statement after Tuesday night's speech, which he characterized as '[l]ies, fearmongering, finger-pointing, and a manufactured excuse for shutting down the government.'
'Using the Oval Office to deceive the American people and spout offensive, anti-immigrant rhetoric proves, once again, that Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president,' he said.
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall said in a statement that Trump 'needs to end his shutdown now, before his reckless tantrum hurts more New Mexico families. New Mexicans didn't hear anything new tonight from the president. Instead, they just heard more fear-mongering about immigrants, and dishonest and out-of-touch talk about the border from a president who doesn't know the first thing about border communities.'
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel praised Trump for 'fighting for a solution to fund our government while protecting American citizens, versus the approach of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer which is to resist, resist, resist at all costs. It wasn't always this way.'
But Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California claimed Trump 'knows that illegal border crossings are at record lows, down 75 percent from 2000.'
She said her party won't support 'spending billions and billions of dollars on a wall that won't help protect our country. It's not realistic. It's not necessary. And it's not where we should focus our attention or resources.'
Vice President Mike Pence signaled on Monday that Trump's approach would be softer than expected.
'There is a humanitarian and national security crisis,' Pence told reporters Monday amid concerns Trump would declare a national emergency. Pence would only say that the White House counsel's office was considering the idea.