Trump told lawmakers he prefers word 'strike' to government shutdown, sources say

Alex Wong via Getty Images

Alex Wong via Getty Images

Mr. Trump said Saturday he wants to end the partial government shutdown quickly, but needs Democrats' cooperation to build a border wall. But he appeared Friday in the Rose Garden to frame the weekend talks as progress, while making clear he would not reopen the government.

Coming out of the second meeting in the White House Situation Room with the president on Friday, Democrats said the discussions were "contentious".

Showing little empathy for the hundreds of thousands furloughed or working without pay, Trump declared - without citing evidence - that most are Democrats.

While the White House has yet to comment on the claims, this is not the first time that Trump has been reported to have used explicit language: last January, his alleged reference to Haiti and several African nations as "sh*thole countries" made the rounds on the internet and beyond. While Trump made clear during his press conference that talk on DACA (the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) would have to wait and that he was trying to negotiate with Congress on the wall, the conversations underscored rising Republican anxiety about just how to exit the shutdown. Some GOP senators up for re-election in 2020, including Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of ME, have voiced discomfort with the shutdown in recent days. Sen.

The US president has repeatedly stressed that there's no border security without a wall, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that Trump said he'd keep the government closed for "a very long period of time months or even years".

On Friday, Trump told members of Congress he had no plans to move on from his demand for $5.6 billion to build a border wall, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

House Democrats muscled through legislation Thursday night to fund the government but not Trump's proposed wall. Asked how people would manage without a financial safety net, he said: "The safety net is going to be having a strong border because we're going to be safe".

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Following the meeting, Democrats said the president ignored their pleas to reopen the government as negotiations continue.

Talks at the staff level will continue Saturday, but even those were clouded with confusion in the wake of the meeting. He described to reporters that he thought, before the shutdown, he and Trump had a deal to avoid one.

"If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See? When they're told by the people they hate that this makes no sense, it makes them more determined to get the wall".

"Absolutely I said that", Trump confirmed from the Rose Garden after the meeting.

Congressional and administration negotiators agreed to meet again Sunday after holding what the White House called "productive" talks Saturday that failed to end the two-week-old government shutdown.

"Even if [Democrats] do go ahead with impeachment and they do impeach the has a boomerang effect", he said, referencing then-President Clinton's post-impeachment approval rating. The Senate is still controlled by the Republicans, and they would be the ones responsible for actually removing Trump from office.

Thomas Schoregge, union representative for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2222 with jurisdiction over New Jersey and NY, told NPR the number of federal employees calling in sick to work could increase if the shutdown continues, "If the majority of people live paycheck-to-paycheck what's going to happen once their money runs out?"

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