Trump says meeting with Democrats ‘waste of time’

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US President Donald Trump arrives at the Capitol for a Senate Republican Policy lunch in Washington DC on Jan. 9, 2019. Xinhua

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump has said he left a meeting on border wall funding with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday because it was a “total waste of time,” while Democrats said he walked out in a “temper tantrum.”

Mr Trump met at the White House with congressional leaders including two top Democrats – House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer – on the 19th day of a government shutdown sparked by Mr Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall.

“I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

Mr Schumer told reporters that Mr Trump walked out after Ms Pelosi declined his demand for wall funding. “Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way,” Mr Schumer said.

The breakdown in talks could strengthen the possibility that Mr Trump will declare a national emergency to build a wall on the southern border if no deal with Congress can be reached on his request for $5.7 billion for the project.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he had the authority to declare a national emergency that would let him pay for the wall with military funds. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Mr Trump was still considering that option.

Asked what Mr Trump had gained by walking out, Mr Pence said: “I think the president made his position very clear today: that there will be no deal without a wall.”

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