Trump says shutdown could last 'months or even years'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared today he could keep parts of the government shut down for "months or even years" as he and Democratic leaders failed in a second closed-door meeting to resolve his demand for billions of dollars for a border wall with Mexico.
They did agree to a new round of weekend talks between staff members and White House officials.
Trump met in the White House Situation Room with congressional leaders from both parties as the shutdown hit the two-week mark amid the impasse over his wall demands. Democrats emerged from the two-hour meeting, which both sides said was contentious at times, to report little if any progress.
Appearing in the Rose Garden, Trump spoke more positively, calling it a "very good meeting." He confirmed he "absolutely" made the comment about the possible length of the shutdown but said he hoped it wouldn't last that long.
He also said he could declare a national emergency and authorize more wall funding on his own but would first try a "negotiated process." Trump previously described the situation at the border as a "national emergency" before he dispatched active duty troops in what critics described as a pre-election stunt.
Asked if he was still proud to own the shutdown as he has previously declared, Trump said: "I don't call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and the safety of our country."
As anxiety mounts over the length of the shutdown, Trump said the hundreds of thousands who are furloughed or working without pay would want him to "keep going" and fight for border security. He said, "These people in many cases are the biggest fan" of his actions.
Democrats, on the other hand, spoke of families unable to pay bills and called on Trump to reopen the government while negotiations continue on border security. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "It's very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government."