Trump says the full government won't reopen without funding for 'a wall, a fence, whatever'

Trump sits in the Oval Office during government shutdown
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/AP)

On Christmas Day, President Trump held the Oval Office equivalent of a FaceTime chat with members of all five branches of the U.S. military — stationed in Alaska, Guam, Bahrain, and Qatar — and he used the occasion to discuss his proposed border wall and the government shutdown it has engendered. "I can't tell you when the government is going to reopen," he told reporters after the call. "I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they'd like to call it. I'll call it whatever they want. But it's all the same thing. It's a barrier from people pouring into our country." He said he hopes to have his wall built or renovated by Election Day 2020.

Trump's insistence on $5 billion for a border wall, and the refusal of Democrats to fund Trump's wall in favor of other border security measures, led about 25 percent of the federal government to shut down on Saturday. Congress doesn't return to Washington until Thursday afternoon. Trump said Tuesday he wants a 30-foot-high barrier, and "if you don't have that, then we're just not opening." About 800,000 federal workers are not getting paid or are otherwise affected by the Christmas shutdown, and Trump insisted, against all available evidence, that "many of those workers have said to me, communicated — stay out until you get the funding for the wall."

"It's a disgrace what's happening in our country," Trump concluded, "but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas."

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