President Trump heads to Camp David as shutdown enters third week
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With the partial government shutdown dragging into its third week, President Trump on Sunday headed to Camp David for a White House staff retreat at which border security and other topics are on the agenda.
The meeting comes one day after Vice President Pence, top White House officials and senior congressional aides emerged empty-handed after more than two hours of negotiations on ending the stalemate.
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Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Sunday morning, Trump said he understood the predicament facing hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are not receiving their paychecks.
“I can relate, and I’m sure the people who are on the receiving end will make adjustments; they always do,” Trump said. He claimed that “many of those people agree with what I’m doing” on refusing to reopen the government without obtaining funding for his long-promised border wall.
© Jacquelyn Martin/AP President Trump waves as he leaves the Rose Garden of the White House on Jan. 4, 2019. On Saturday, Pence refused to budge from the more than $5 billion Trump has demanded from Congress to pay for a portion of the wall, according to two Democratic officials briefed on the negotiations.
The standoff — which has heavily affected national parks and other operations and threatens to halt payments as varied as food stamps and tax refunds — has made Trump’s unrealized border wall the linchpin of his presidency as he seeks to make good on a signature campaign promise.
In a bid to force Democrats’ hand, Trump has said that he is considering declaring a national emergency to begin wall construction without congressional approval.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in her first sit-down interview on network television since reclaiming the gavel last week, maintained that the goal of Saturday’s meeting was to reopen the government and blamed Trump for the continued impasse.
“The impression you get from the president [is] that he would like to not only close government, build a wall, but also abolish Congress so the only voice that mattered was his own,” Pelosi told Jane Pauley in the interview, which aired on CBS News’s “Sunday Morning.”
The White House, meanwhile, is insisting that Trump is prepared to continue the shutdown fight for as long as it takes.
“Absolutely, the president means what he says when he says that,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about Trump’s claim that he will allow the shutdown to stretch on for months or even years.
She added that it is “incomprehensible” that Democrats who agree with Trump on the need for border security would not agree to his demand for wall funding. “They just are unwilling to let this president win,” Sanders said.
Seung Min Kim, Robert Costa and Anne Gearan contributed to this report.