As the disruption in federal services and public employees’ pay appeared set to continue into the new year, there were no signs of any substantive negotiation between the blame-trading parties.
counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday Trump is not reaching out to Democrats, rather he’s waiting for Democrats to reach out to him. “It is with them,” she told Fox News.
Trump is holding out for billions in federal funds for a border wall between the US and Mexico, which Democrats have said they were intent on blocking.
Trump tweeted on Saturday that he was “in the White House
waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security.” But there has been little direct contact between the sides during the stalemate, and Trump did not ask Republicans, who hold a monopoly on power in Washington for another five days, to keep Congress in session.
As he called for Democrats to negotiate on the wall, Trump brushed off criticism that his administration bore any responsibility for the recent deaths of two migrant children in Border Patrol custody.
Trump claimed the deaths were “strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally”. His comments on Twitter came as his Homeland Security secretary met with medical professionals and ordered policy changes meant to better protect children detained at the border.
Trump earlier had upped the brinkmanship by threatening anew to close the border with Mexico to press Congress to cave to his demand for money to pay for a wall.
Democrats are vowing to pass legislation restoring the government as soon as they take control of the House on Thursday, but that won’t accomplish anything unless Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate go along with it.
Talks have been at a stalemate for more than a week, after Democrats said the White House offered to accept $2.5 billion for border security last Saturday. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told Vice President Mike Pence that it wasn't acceptable, nor was it guaranteed that Trump, under intense pressure from his conservative base to fulfill his signature campaign promise, would settle for that amount.
Conway claimed on Sunday that “the president has already compromised” by dropping his request for the wall from $25 billion, and she called on Democrats to return to the negotiating table.