Donald Trump told Congressional leaders Friday that he will shut down the government for ‘months or even years’ if he does not get money for his border wall with Mexico — and said he was ‘proud’ to do it because it’s the right thing.
Trump’s threat was first disclosed by Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, during a news conference outside the White House. He accused the president of holding federal workers ‘hostage’ for the wall and urged him to continue the conversation with the government open.
The president confirmed the remarks as he addressed reporters in the Rose Garden.
‘I did. I did. I did say that. Absolutely, I said that. I don’t think it will, but I am prepared,’ Trump said at the beginning of a lengthy news conference.
Trump described his wall as a vital national security measure, and in a free-wheeling performance claimed that illegal immigrants were being driven across it away from ports of entries, in some cases with women in the back of their vehicles with their mouths taped over.
The president also disclosed that he had considered declaring a national emergency to build the wall without legislative approval and said: ‘I can do it, if I want.’