President Donald Trump, who made an unannounced surprise visit to troops in Iraq on Wednesday night, told them parts of the government will remain closed until funding for his long-sought border wall is provided.
When asked by a reporter how much longer the shutdown would continue, the President said, “Whatever it takes.”
“I mean, we’re going to have a wall. We’re going to have safety. We need safety for our country, even from this standpoint,” said Trump, according to a White House transcript of his remarks at Al Asad Air Base. “We need a wall. So when you say, ‘How long is it going to take?’ When are they going to say that we need border security? When are the Democrats going to say it?”
He then continued by claiming Democrats wanted a wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border until he started demanding it. “Once I wanted it, they didn’t agree,” Trump noted, according to The Hill.
Almost six days after the partial government shutdown, neither side is willing to concede ground over the President’s demand. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said over the weekend that Trump “must abandon the wall, plain and simple” for the government to reopen.
Shortly after, President Trump claimed they have made progress on the wall, saying, “We fixed a tremendous amount of wall — many miles.”
Pressed about whether he would agree to a lower amount than the one he has been asking for, Trump said, “I’m not going to talk about it now. But I will say this: We have been building a lot of wall.”
He further said Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is to become the new House speaker, was to blame for the situation.
“So Nancy is calling the shots. Look politically speaking — I don’t do it for politics, I’m doing nothing for politics. But, politically speaking, people want border security, okay?” Trump said.