Donald Trump stands strong on government shutdown: ‘I was elected to protect our country’
President Trump on Sunday said that he gets no pleasure from shutting down the government but felt duty-bound to do it to protect the country.
“I don’t like doing this. I have no fun doing this. I was elected to protect our country. That’s what I’m doing,” said the president.
The partial government shutdown continued for a 16th day as the president and Capitol Hill Democrats remained in a standoff over his demand for $5.6 billion for border security, including a barrier or wall on the southern border.
“This shutdown can end tomorrow. It’s really dependent on the Democrats,” said Mr. Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said a border wall is “immoral.” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Mr. Trump shut down the government in a “temper tantrum” over not getting his way.
Mr. Trump said he expected “very serious” talks this week that could break the impasse.
“Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and myself could solve this in 20 minutes if they want to. If they don’t want to it’s going to go on for a long time,” he said as he left the White House for Camp David.
Mr. Trump was meeting with White House staff at the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont, Maryland, to discuss border security issues and other 2019 priorities.
The partial shutdown had left about 800,000 federal workers without paychecks. Democrats have increasingly pointed to the workers’ plight in calling for Mr. Trump to end shutdown before negotiating border security funding.
Mr. Trump said he can “relate” to the workers’ predicaments and expected they would tough it out in support of protecting the nation’s borders.
“I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments, they always do, and they’ll make adjustments,” he said. “People understand exactly what’s going on. But many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”