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Trump walks out of shutdown talks with a 'bye-bye'

President Donald Trump has walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders as negotiations broke down on the 19th day of a US government shutdown.

The Republican president ended talks after Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer stuck by their refusal to fund his planned US-Mexico border wall.

Mr Trump called his meeting with the pair "a total waste of time".

Some 800,000 federal workers will go without pay this week for the first time since the shutdown began.

The president tweeted afterwards that he had said "bye-bye" to the top Democrats.

Outside the White House the blame game was in full flow from both sides after Wednesday's meeting in the Situation Room, a conference centre in the West Wing basement.

Mrs Pelosi, who is speaker of the House of Representatives, said the legion of unpaid federal employees were "collateral damage" to Mr Trump.

"The president seems to be insensitive to that," she said. "He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money. But they can't."

Mr Schumer told reporters the president had abruptly left when Mrs Pelosi said she would not approve any wall funding.

The Senate Democratic leader said: "He [Mr Trump] asked Speaker Pelosi, 'Will you agree to my wall?' She said no.

"And he just got up and said, 'Then we have nothing to discuss,' and he just walked out.

"Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way."

 

Media captionFive questions about Trump's border wall
The New York senator also said Mr Trump had "slammed the table", but senior Republican congressman Steve Scalise denied this.

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters he was "disappointed" that Democrats were "unwilling to engage in good faith negotiations".

Kevin McCarthy, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said he found the Democrats' behaviour "embarrassing".

Though Republican leaders and Mr Trump insist the party is "totally unified" behind him, several moderate senators are wavering.

Mr Trump has demanded $5.7bn (£4.5bn) to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge.

But Democrats - who this month took over the House of Representatives - have refused.

Wednesday's heated dispute came a day after Mr Trump's first televised Oval Office address to the nation, where he described the border as a humanitarian and security crisis.

Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer aired a rebuttal calling the president's claims a fake threat.

Mr Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency over the border "crisis", in a bid to bypass congressional approval and build the wall.

Can Trump use emergency powers to build wall?

Nine federal agencies are closed due to a lack of funding since 22 December in a shutdown that is poised this weekend to become the longest in US history.

A new opinion poll suggests just over half of Americans (51%) blame President Trump for the shutdown, but that 77% of Republican voters back his demand for wall funding.

On social media, federal workers have been sharing stories of hardships and frustrations. Some are now considering finding new jobs to make ends meet.

(BBC)

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