Donald Trump has dismissed a proposal from a key ally in Congress that would end the longest US government shutdown in American history, declaring that he would "never ever back down" over border security..
Twenty-four days into the partial shut down, Mr Trump rejected the idea from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. The Senator had indicated he discussed the option of reopening the government temporarily as negotiations continue with Democrats over their refusal to sanction a demand from the president for $5.7bn to build a wall on the US-Mexico borer.
That idea had seen some support from Democrats, but the president declined to bite.
“I’m not interested,” Mr Trump said on Monday as he made his way to New Orleans, where he gave a speech to a farming convention. “I want it solved. I don’t want to just delay it. I want to get it solved”.
The comment came just hours after the president tweeted that he had been “waiting all weekend” to negotiate with congressional Democrats to reopen the government and that he believed an end could be negotiated in 15 minutes.
Having dismissed that option from Mr Graham while leaving the White House, Mr Trump used his speech in New Orleans to say there was “no substitute” for a physical barrier along the southern border with Mexico.
He also accused Democrats of playing politics in refusing to negotiate on the issue.
“They think if they stop me, it’ll be good for 2020,” Mr Trump said of Democrats in Congress. “We need that barrier. … If you don’t have that barrier there, there is not a thing you can do.”
However, with the shutdown having left 800,000 federal workers without pay, there are signs that Mr Trump is beginning to lose the battle for public opinion.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday found that 63 per cent of voters agree with the long-standing Democrat proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security, with 30 per cent opposed.
The same poll found 63 per cent of respondents also oppose using the shutdown to force wall funding, with 32 per cent supporting Mr Trump's stance.
The poll also found that 56 percent of American voters blame Mr Trump and Republicans in Congress for the partial shutdown.
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