Trump says he’s prepared to close Mexico border
WASHINGTON • With the partial government shutdown headed toward its second week and no resolution in sight, President Donald Trump on Friday issued a string of tweets in which he again vowed to close the entire U.S. border with Mexico and halt aid to several Latin American countries unless Democrats agree to his demand for billions of dollars in wall funding.Trump also cancelled plans to visit his Florida resort, Mar-a-lago, and will remain in Washington over the New Year’s holiday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said.About 25 per cent of the federal government has been shut down since Saturday, with roughly 800,000 workers affected, including an estimated 350,000 who are on furlough at home.“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump said in a morning tweet.In a reprise of his threat before the midterm elections to cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as a caravan of migrants was making its way toward the United States, Trump said that those three countries “are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money.”“Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it,” he said, without providing further details. “We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries — taking advantage of U.S. for years!”Despite Trump’s threat, the United States this month announced a new collaboration with Mexico on a program to curb migration from Central American countries, with much of the $10.6 billion U.S. contribution to be drawn from existing aid programs.Trump’s tweets come as Congress has effectively given up on breaking the impasse over the president’s demands for border-wall funding, all but ensuring that the partial government shutdown will stretch into at least the start of the new year.The House and the Senate convened for just minutes Thursday before closing until next week. During the brief session in the House, Republicans shot down a Democratic attempt to vote on legislation to reopen the government.As he did Thursday, Trump remained out of public view on Friday. In an appearance on Fox News, Mulvaney said that the president had “cancelled his plans for Christmas, and now he’s cancelled his plan for New Year’s.”“He’s staying in Washington, D.C., over New Year’s,” said Mulvaney, who is set to become Trump’s acting chief of staff next month.
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