President Trump has claimed repeatedly that many federal workers directly impacted by the partial U.S. government shutdown have been telling him to keep up the fight for his border wall. Nearly two dozen furloughed government employees appeared alongside Democratic leaders at a news conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., where they were asked by a reporter to raise their hand if they supported the president’s position and want to see a wall built.
None of them did.
“This is an example of the president being almost delusionary,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “He says to us, ‘Workers are calling me saying, I’ll stay out without a paycheck, as long as it takes.’ And it’s like, well, who? Give us names.”
Following the Democrats’ press conference, the president fired back, telling reporters: “The beautiful thing is, with social media, the world can write to you. You take a look at social media, so many of those people are saying, ‘It’s very hard for me, it’s very hard for my family, but, Mr. President, you’re doing the right thing.’”
Trump is demanding Congress allocate $5.7 billion that would go toward construction of a physical barrier on the U.S. border with Mexico in exchange for reopening the government. Democrats are refusing to do so, and want the government reopened while negotiations continue.
About 800,000 federal employees, approximately half of whom are working without pay, have been affected by the ongoing shutdown now in its 19th day.
On Sunday, Trump said that “many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
The president made a similar claim during a Rose Garden press conference Friday afternoon.
“A lot of people that you think are upset — and certainly they’re not thrilled — but they say, ’Sir, do the right thing. We need border security,’” Trump said. “And these are people that won’t be getting paid.”
At Wednesday’s press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took a swipe at another claim Trump made during his Rose Garden news conference: that some former U.S. presidents have confided to him that they wished a border wall had been built while they were in office.
“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me,” Trump said. “And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”
All four living ex-presidents — Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — said they had no such discussions with Trump.
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