President Trump has drawn a line in the sand on the issue of immigration, refusing to sign off on a federal budget that does not include at least $5 billion for his border wall. This has the U.S. government in something of a political stalemate, as neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate will approve such an expense. Nonetheless, the president continues lobbying for the wall online, deflecting criticism in every direction.
"The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier," he wrote on Sunday. "Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!"
The only way to stop drugs, gangs, human trafficking, criminal elements and much else from coming into our Country is with a Wall or Barrier. Drones and all of the rest are wonderful and lots of fun, but it is only a good old fashioned Wall that works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
The phrase "old fashioned" caught a lot of people off guard, as the U.S. has never had a border wall before. Instead, the tweet evoked much older structures — including Hadrian's Wall in the Roman Empire or even the Great Wall of China.
On Friday, Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York took the Senate floor, demanding that the president "give up" his plans for the wall. Schumer made it perfectly clear that Republicans and Democrats are willing to compromise to end the government shutdown, but the president himself is not.
"We arrived at this moment because President Trump has been on a destructive two-week temper tantrum," he said, "demanding the American tax-payer pony up for an expensive and ineffective border wall that the president promised Mexico would pay for."
Schumer also listed all the times that the president has recently threatened to intentionally cause a government shut down, asserting that this is a part of his larger strategy. He cited his own argumentative meeting with the president and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office, which was meant to be behind closed doors, but the president invited reporters.
"Just two days ago, the Senate unanimously agreed to a proposal by leader McConnell to keep the government open through February," he said. "It wasn't exactly what Democrats wanted... but we agreed, because we wanted to keep the government open. All indications were that the president would sign the bill. But President Trump, beholden to the far, far right... changed his mind on the bipartisan Senate bill, passed unanimously by all Republicans and all Democrats in this chamber."0comments
Schumer said that there was no chance the president's plan to fund the border wall would ever pass the Senate — "not today, not next week, not next year."
"Mr. President, President Trump, if you want to re-open the government, you must abandon the wall," he concluded.