Trump walks out of meet­ing on clo­sure

Talks on clo­sure end af­ter wall plan re­jected

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Mau­reen Groppe, David Jack­son and Michael Collins

WASHINGTON – Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walked out of a ne­go­ti­at­ing meet­ing with con­gres­sional lead­ers Wed­nes­day and said he might de­clare a na­tional emer­gency at the bor­der af­ter Democrats re­fused to yield to his de­mands for money for a bor­der wall.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told re­porters that Trump abruptly ended the White House ses­sion af­ter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she did not sup­port his bor­der wall.

“He just got up and said we have noth­ing to dis­cuss, and he walked out,” Schumer said. “He just walked out of the meet­ing.”

Schumer called Trump’s be­hav­ior “un­be­com­ing of a pres­i­dent.”

Vice Pres­i­dent

Mike Pence and Repub­li­can law­mak­ers dis­puted the Democrats’ ac­count and said the meet­ing ended af­ter Democrats re­fused to offer a coun­ter­plan to re­open the gov­ern­ment and de­manded the GOP adopt their pro­posal.

Trump gave Schumer and Pelosi the floor to make their case, but “they want to ar­gue,” said House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Trump treated the Democrats po­litely, McCarthy said, but they re­acted with “em­bar­rass­ing” be­hav­ior.

Trump him­self seemed to confirm that he had walked out of the ses­sion, writ­ing on Twit­ter: “Just left a meet­ing with Chuck and Nancy, a to­tal waste of time. 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!”

The end of what was sup­posed to be a new round of bi­par­ti­san talks came on the 19th day of a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down – now the sec­ond-long­est in his­tory – that was trig­gered by Trump’s de­mands for $5.7 bil­lion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der and Democrats’ re­fusal to give him the money.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, Trump said he was still con­sid­er­ing declar­ing a na­tional emer­gency on the bor­der if ne­go­ti­a­tions with Democrats fail to yield a deal on fund­ing for the wall he is de­mand­ing.

“I have the ab­so­lute right to do (a) na­tional emer­gency if I want.” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

Trump told re­porters that he thought he and Democrats might be able to come to an agree­ment but that an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion is an op­tion to free up money for a wall.

“I think we might work a deal (on the gov­ern­ment shut­down), and if we don’t, I may go that route,” he said. “I have the ab­so­lute right to do (a) na­tional emer­gency if I want. … My thresh­old will be if I can’t make a deal with peo­ple that are un­rea­son­able.”

A emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion the­o­ret­i­cally would al­low Trump to use mil­i­tary money to build the wall. But Democrats and some Repub­li­cans have ques­tioned the le­gal­ity of such a move, say­ing an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion would be chal­lenged in court.

Ahead of Wed­nes­day’s failed bi­par­ti­san meet­ing, Trump and Pence trav­eled to the Capi­tol for a closed-door lun­cheon with Se­nate Repub­li­cans.

Speak­ing to re­porters after­ward, Trump re­it­er­ated that he might pur­sue a na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion to get fund­ing for his wall ab­sent progress in ne­go­ti­a­tions with Democrats.

“I may do that at some point,” Trump said, “if they don’t agree with the fact that our coun­try re­ally has prob­lems with crime.”

Trump re­peat­edly sought to por­tray a sense of unity among Repub­li­cans, even as some have sug­gested open­ing por­tions of the gov­ern­ment while ne­go­ti­a­tions over the wall con­tinue.

“There was no dis­cus­sion about any­thing other than sol­i­dar­ity,” Trump said. “The Repub­li­cans are to­tally unified.”

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell, R-Ky., also stressed that Repub­li­cans re­main solidly be­hind Trump in the bud­get stand­off. But at least three GOP sen­a­tors – Cory Gard­ner of Colorado, Su­san Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – have pub­licly said the Se­nate should at least con­sider the House plan to re­open the gov­ern­ment.

“The op­er­a­tions of the De­part­ment of In­te­rior and the Na­tional Park Ser­vice or the op­er­a­tions of the IRS and whether or not tax re­funds go out don’t have any­thing to do with bor­der se­cu­rity,” Murkowski told re­porters Tues­day.

“So let’s bi­fur­cate these is­sues. Let’s set them aside. Let’s al­low for the op­er­a­tions, these gov­ern­men­tal func­tions in these six other de­part­ments, al­low for them to con­tinue.”

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA

Trash lies un­col­lected on the Na­tional Mall in Washington dur­ing the shut­down, now the sec­ond-long­est in his­tory.

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