New York, Thursday
President Donald Trump has walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders as negotiations broke down on the 19th day of a partial US government shutdown.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer stuck by their refusal to fund his US-Mexico border wall, prompting Trump to call the meeting “a total waste of time”.
Democrats again accused the president of throwing a “temper tantrum”. The first payday since the shutdown began is due on Friday for 800,000 federal workers, who will go unpaid.
Trump has demanded $5.7 billion (Sh570 billion) to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge. But Democrats—who control the House of Representatives—have refused to back the funding.
Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, confirmed the exchange, saying: “He [Trump] asked Speaker Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no.
“And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out. Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way.”
Schumer reportedly asked Trump: “You are using people as leverage; why won’t you open the government and stop hurting people?”
A White House official told the New York Times Trump had said: “I am trying to do the right thing for the country. This isn’t about politics.” Schumer also said Trump had “slammed the table”, but Vice-President Mike Pence disputed this. -BBC