Published: Mon, December 31, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

John Kelly Says Trump Backed Away From Border Wall Plan Months Ago

John Kelly Says Trump Backed Away From Border Wall Plan Months Ago

President Donald Trump threatened Friday to seal the US-Mexico border "entirely" if Congress does not approve billions of dollars in funding for a wall.

Some federal workers began to feel the pain of the partial United States government shutdown on Friday.

The federal government is now in a partial shutdown over gridlock in Congress that failed to approve Trump's demand for $US5 billion dedicated to the wall's construction.

Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he hoped to end the shutdown by offering Democrats incentives to get them to vote for wall funding.

"What part of Democratic majority and he's not getting the wall do they not understand?", Democrats are asking, as they fan out across news telly prime time ahead of the New Year.

The US government shutdown is slated to remain in place as 2018 draws to a close, with the White House saying on Sunday that President Donald Trump would not be reaching out to Democrats.

John Kelly, who will leave his post Wednesday after a tumultuous 17 months in the job, said in an exit interview with the Los Angeles Times that Mr Trump abandoned the notion of "a solid concrete wall early on in the administration".

"The President still says "wall" - oftentimes frankly he'll say "barrier" or "fencing", now he's tended toward steel slats".

The first paychecks were going out with reduced funds for employees who were assigned to work without pay on the first day of the shutdown, a Saturday, or who began their furlough that day. During the brief session in the House, Republicans shot down a Democratic attempt to vote on legislation to reopen the government.

He added on "Fox & Friends" that he's surprised at the relaxed tenor of Democrats on the border wall.

Building a solid "wall" along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico frontier was a central plank of Trump's 2016 election campaign, and he has tweeted about it nearly 100 times this year alone.

While Pelosi sips on festive cocktails served in coconut-cups, her staff are issuing press statements about how the Democrats will swiftly end the Trump Shutdown. Already, Democrats riding on a new wave of confidence are saying there'll be "hell to pay" if evidence shows that US negligence had a role to play in the recent deaths of two children under 10 years waiting for asylum entry at the US-Mexico border.

Trump initially demanded $5 billion for the wall, but the White House offered a deal for about half of that amount.

Mulvaney said Democrats are no longer negotiating with the administration over an earlier offer by the White House to accept less than the $5 billion Trump wants for the wall.

He has remained out of the public eye since returning early Thursday from a 29-hour visit to USA troops in Iraq, instead taking to Twitter to attack Democrats.

Since their victory, House Democrats have talked about seeking common ground with Republicans, while also promising numerous investigations of Trump, who has painted himself and Republicans in the Senate into a political corner. "Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown".

Both sides have dug in, with Democrats refusing to provide United States dollars 5 billion for the project and the president - who has made hardline immigration polices a centre piece of his presidency - vowing he will not fully fund the government unless he gets the money.

Chris Krueger, an analyst at financial firm Cowen's Washington Research Group, said in a commentary note: "We see little chance of a breakthrough before the Democrats take control of the House on January 3".

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