President Donald Trump said Friday he was prepared to keep the US government closed for a year or more, as he stood firm on his contentious demand for billions of dollars to fund a border wall with Mexico.
Trump confirmed he said as much in a meeting earlier Friday with top Democrats that failed to produce a deal on ending the two-week shutdown.
“Absolutely I said that,” Trump said, adding. “I don’t think it will. But I am prepared.”
“It’s very important that we have great border security,” he continued. “It will be over with sooner than people think. I will do whatever we have to do.”
Trump insisted that federal workers affected by the US government shutdown support him, despite the fact that many were forced either to work without salaries or go on unpaid leave.
“Many of those people, most of those people, that really have not been and will not be getting their money in at this moment, those people in many cases are the biggest fan of what we’re doing,” he added.
A quick end to the stalemate does not appear to be in sight as Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, seem in no mood to make concessions to the US president.
Incoming House leader Nancy Pelosi has described the wall as an “immorality” while once again flatly rejecting Trump’s insistence on $5.6 billion for the southern barrier.
The impasse has left more than 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay since December 22 — as both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to pin the blame on the other side.