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Trump leans on McConnell to pass spending bill with border funding in Senate

FILE -- President Donald Trump meets with his Cabinet, at the White House in Washington, Oct 17, 2018. Even for some Republicans, the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was a deeply unsettling prospect, especially after Trump rejected a deal to keep the government running and announced a troop withdrawal in Syria without consulting allies or warning Congress. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Copyright 2018)

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Friday threatened that a partial government shutdown would last "for a very long time" if Congress does not meet his demand Friday for billions in funding for his long-promised border wall in a stopgap spending measure.

In a spate of morning tweets, Trump sought to bin blame on Democrats for a potential shutdown even though he said last week that we would proudly own one if lawmakers did not provide at least $5 billion toward his marquee campaign promise.

"The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED," Trump wrote. "If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don't want Open Borders and Crime!"

Trump's warning came ahead of a midnight deadline for the president and Congress to come to terms on a spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown.

After Trump threatened Thursday to veto a Senate measure that did not contain the border funding he sought, the House hurried to appease the president, pulling together a bill that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8 while also allocating $5.7 billion for the border wall. The House bill also included nearly $8 billion for disaster relief for hurricanes and wildfires.

Democrats, however, have enough votes in the Senate to keep that bill from advancing and have showed no signs of relenting.

In another tweet, Trump urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to fight to pass a bill with he border-wall funding he is seeking.

"Senator Mitch McConnell should fight for the Wall and Border Security as hard as he fought for anything," Trump wrote. "He will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don't vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown! House Republicans were great yesterday!"

In his tweets, Trump also sought to counter Democratic arguments that a border wall is an antiquated strategy for curbing illegal border crossings.

"The Democrats are trying to belittle the concept of a Wall, calling it old fashioned," Trump wrote. "The fact is there is nothing else's that will work, and that has been true for thousands of years. It's like the wheel, there is nothing better."

"Properly designed and built Walls work, and the Democrats are lying when they say they don't," the president added.


This article was written by John Wagner, a reporter for The Washington Post.