President Donald Trump delivered a brutal Christmas message to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over the partial government shut down.
While speaking with reporters on Tuesday in the Oval Office, Trump stood firm on his demand for funding for the border wall between the United States and Mexico.
He said the government shutdown would continue until the wall is funded.
“I can’t tell you when the government is going to be open,” Trump said.
“I can’t tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want,” he added.
“It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country,” he continued. “It’s a barrier from drugs.”
Trump accused Democrats of wanting open borders and said some federal workers are on his side about getting funding for the wall.
“Many of those workers have said to me, communicated, ‘stay out until you get the funding for the wall.’ These federal workers want the wall,” Trump said.
The president also asserted the wall would be effective in keeping illegal aliens from entering the U.S. — unless they happen to be incredibly athletic.
“There may be a case of an Olympic champion who may get over the wall, but for the most part, you’re not going to be able to do it,” Trump said.
The president rounded out his comments by calling it a “disgrace” that Democrats are refusing to work with Republicans to fund the wall to keep the nation safe.
“It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country. But other than that, I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas,” he concluded.
President Trump: "I can't tell you when the government is going to be open. I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they would like to call it. I'll call it whatever they want." https://t.co/CLtbYkaxrA pic.twitter.com/XDIv4wF6uV
— The Hill (@thehill) December 25, 2018
With Wednesday marking the fifth day of the federal government shut down, Trump and Democrats are locked over the issue of border security.
Schumer said on Saturday that Trump “must abandon the wall, plain and simple” for the government to reopen.
Last Thursday, House Republicans voted 217-185 to approve a measure that would keep the government open and allocate $5.7 billion for border wall funding.
The bill is now waiting a full vote in the Senate, where it is currently facing a very difficult task of passing given lawmakers are back home for the holidays.
The vote came hours after Trump informed House Republican leaders that he would not sign the Senate-passed resolution to fund the government if it did not provide money for the border wall.
Trump originally wanted $5 billion for border wall funding and Democrats only offered $1.6 billion, which they claimed was a “very generous” offer and the most that they could do.
The government has been partially shut down for just shy of one week, with about 75 percent of it still funded and operating.