In a series of tweets Monday morning, President Donald Trump demanded that Democratic leaders return to Washington, D.C. to reach a border security deal, just days after GOP leadership sent Congress home without finalizing the bipartisan bill to avert a partial government shutdown of the president’s own making.
“I campaigned on Border Security,” Trump tweeted, “which you cannot have without a strong and powerful Wall … Dems should get back here an (sic) fix now!”
I campaigned on Border Security, which you cannot have without a strong and powerful Wall. Our Southern Border has long been an “Open Wound,” where drugs, criminals (including human traffickers) and illegals would pour into our Country. Dems should get back here an fix now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2018
Prior to the shutdown, Trump boasted that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security,” telling Democratic leaders, “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”
Although they controlled both chambers of Congress for nearly two years, Republican lawmakers have been unable to deliver on Trump’s demands of $5 billion in funding for a border war along the U.S.-Mexico border, one that the president vowed Mexico would fund. GOP leaders in the House and Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), have been largely absent over the past week and, according to the Washington Post, Republicans haven’t organized meetings to develop a strategy to defend the president.
GOP lawmakers have attempted over the past year to rebrand the wall as a “security fence,” in an apparent effort to make the the structure more palatable to Democrats. On Sunday, after a meeting with the president, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters that the “wall has become a metaphor for border security” and that Republican lawmakers are merely pushing for a “physical barrier” that “makes sense.”
Democratic leaders have said they support more than $1 billion in border security funding, but that they do not want any of the money to go toward building a wall.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "The wall has become a metaphor for border security" pic.twitter.com/vXrmJpUV52
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 30, 2018
Despite Republican attempts to downplay the wall, Trump repeated his stubborn demands early Monday morning, tweeting that “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media.”
It wasn't reported by the media; it was reported by Trump's own chief of staff and the senator he met with Sunday who called it a "metaphor. https://t.co/f3uItDKUF8
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) December 31, 2018
Meanwhile, House Democrats on Monday plan to announce their plan to end the government shutdown, which entered its second week Sunday. According to the Washington Post, when Democrats take control of the House in the new year, they plan to pass a continuing resolution that will fund the Department of Homeland Security until early February and the rest of the government for the full year.