US President Donald Trump has walked out of talks with Democratic congressional leaders over funding for a border wall with Mexico, and said on Twitter the White House meeting to end a government shutdown was “a total waste of time.”
On the 19th day of a partial government shutdown caused by the disagreement over the wall, a short meeting between Mr Trump, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders ended in acrimony with no sign of a resolution.
“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?” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
Exasperated Democrats called Mr Trump’s behaviour a “temper tantrum” and said the meeting broke down when they refused to commit to funding his proposed southern border wall.
Mr Schumer told reporters outside the White House that Mr Trump asked Pelosi if she would fund his wall.
“She said no. And he just got up and said: ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out.”
“Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way,” Mr Schumer added.
Mr Trump said earlier on Wednesday that he had a right to declare a national emergency to build a wall on the southern border if no deal with Congress can be reached on his request for $US5.7 billion for the project.
Democrats plan to test Republicans’ resolve on the issue by advancing a bill to immediately reopen the Treasury Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other agencies that have been partially shut down since December 22.
Democrats are eager to force Republicans to choose between funding the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service – at a time when it should be gearing up to issue tax refunds to millions of Americans – and voting to keep it partially shuttered.