On Friday President Trump and both Republican and Democrat party leadership held a meeting at the White House to discuss re-opening the government that has been partially shutdown for fourteen days.
After the meeting Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), told reporters the meeting was highly contentious with the President explaining he would keep the government shutdown for months or even years, in the name of national security.
President Trump spoke to reporters from the Rose Garden and called the meeting productive. Unlike Thursday’s press conference, President Trump took questions from reporters and confirmed he did tell Schumer that he was willing to keep the government shutdown until he received the funding to build the border wall.
Trump confirms that he told Pelosi and Schumer that the government shutdown could go on for years. He can't cite a single shred of progress that was made during their meeting. pic.twitter.com/J4rQGNg27d— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
The Washington Post reported on Friday that in light of the government being shutdown “hundreds of senior Trump political appointees are poised to receive annual pay raises,” this includes Vice President Pence.
The amount according to the post is about $10,000 a year and it is an unintended consequence of the shutdown, “when lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse. Congress enacted a law capping pay for top federal executives in 2013 and renewed it each year.”
As the article notes President Trump ordered a pay freeze for “most federal workers, working or not.”
Asked about the raises President Trump in part says, he might “consider,” asking his cabinet not to accept them at least during the shutdown.
Trump preposterously claims that he doesn't think his cabinet members are even aware they're getting a big raise tomorrow, won't commit to asking them to forego it while the government shutdown is ongoing. #DrainTheSwamp pic.twitter.com/1CzlWf10c8— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
President Trump said a lot of things during the Q&A based on that below you will find highlights.
Asked if the President was willing to use “emergency powers,” to build the wall with out Congressional approval President Trump said that he has considered it.
President Trump can declare an emergency to build the wall, but it is not clear if he could actually fund the building of the wall without congressional approval.
President Trump explains how the government intends to use Eminent Domain to “take the land,” to build the wall. He goes on to say without it, you’d never be able to build anything.
Asked if he is still “proud to own the shutdown,” he says, “you can call whatever you want…it’s just words.” He also says, “I don’t call it a shutdown.”
.@HallieJackson: "Are you still proud to 'own' this shutdown?" ???— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
TRUMP: "Well, you know, I appreciate the way you say that, but I'm very proud of doing what I'm doing… you can call whatever you want… it's just words." pic.twitter.com/Jpghtbzcog
Since the shutdown started President Trump according to Trump Twitter Archive has used the word shutdown fifteen times.
He is asked how the new USMCA trade deal, a deal still not ratified by congress, will pay for the wall, to which he once again does not answer the question.
Asked to detail how the USMCA trade deal will result in Mexico paying for the wall, Trump instead goes on a rant about how NAFTA was bad. (He never answers the question.) pic.twitter.com/99zuD798TU— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
In this clip he says the wall is “you know…it’s great.”
"The wall, you know, it's… it's… great." pic.twitter.com/bLHDhBmvKx— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 4, 2019
Asked about the “safety net” for federal workers, he said, “the safety net is going to be having strong borders.”
He also explained he believes that the majority of the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown are with him.
President Trump told reporters a group of people is expected to work on deal over the weekend, Congress has adjourned until Tuesday.