Donald Trump was on Thursday heading to the border with Mexico to step up pressure on funding for the wall after his latest efforts to end the government shutdown ended in further acrimony.
Mr Trump handed out sweets to leading Democrats as he sought their support for the wall in a meeting in the White House on Wednesday night, but the president allegedly flew into a "tantrum", slamming the table and walking out when opposition leaders refused his demands.
Mr Trump tweeted shortly after that the meeting was a "total waste of time". He added: "I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"
Details of the meeting in the Situation Room were leaked soon after, outlining how Mr Trump had attempted to smooth over his recent outbursts by offering a selection of sweets including Skittles, M&M's, chocolate and peanut "Butterfingers", and "Baby Ruths".
Chuck Schumer, the Democrat senate minority leader, later recalled the bizarre 14-minute meeting. He said: "Unfortunately, the president just got up and walked out. He asked Speaker (Nancy) 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, and he just walked out of the meeting."
Vice president Mike Pence confirmed that Mr Trump offered sweets. "Well, the president walked into the room and passed out candy. It’s true,” Mr Pence said. But he added: “I don’t recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand."
Mr Trump responded to details of the meeting again on Thursday morning, tweeting that Mr Schumer had lied about him slamming the table.
Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when he used his standard sound bite that I “slammed the table & walked out of the room. He had a temper tantrum.” Because I knew he would say that, and after Nancy said no to proper Border Security, I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2019
Mr Trump was due in Texas on Thursday morning as the government shutdown marks its 20th day, one off the record of 21 set under Bill Clinton.
During his trip to the border city of McAllen Mr Trump will visit a patrol station for a roundtable on immigration and security, and will get a security briefing on the border.
But Mr Trump has expressed his own doubts that his appearance and remarks will change any minds, as he seeks $5.7 billion for the wall that has been his signature promise since his presidential campaign.
McAllen is located in the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest part of the border for illegal border crossings.
The unraveling talks prompted further speculation about whether Mr Trump would declare a national emergency and try to authorise the wall on his own if Congress won't approve the money he's seeking.
"I think we might work a deal, and if we don't I might go that route," he said.