Donald Trump has threatened to close the United States’ southern border if Congress refuses to give $5bn in taxpayer funds for his Mexican border wall.
Much of the federal government is currently shut down for lack of funding as the dispute over the proposed wall continues to rage, while Congress has been adjourned until next week.
But Trump, who cancelled plans to spend Christmas at his second home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, has remained in Washington.
Trump is demanding $5.7bn (£4.5bn), which was passed by the House of Representatives by 217 – 185, but has so far been rejected in the Senate.
Today, he tweeted: “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump said.
“Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border.”
He also made fresh threats to cut off aid funding to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which he said were taking advantage of the US.
In TV interviews today, Trump’s aides also moved to pass the blame for the shutdown onto the Democrats, for refusing his demands.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told CBS that Democrat Nancy Pelosi – who is set to become the House of Representatives speaker next week after her party’s victory in the November midterm elections – was to blame.
“Nancy Pelosi is only looking to protect her speakership but not protect our borders and that's why she's unwilling to negotiate with us and unwilling to make any type of a deal and unwilling to help do what is necessary,” Sanders said.
Meanwhile, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said to Fox News: “Where is [Democrat] Chuck Schumer? Where is Nancy Pelosi? They’re not even talking right now.”
The previous day, a spokesman for Schumer said the parties were still far from resolving the shutdown, which began on Saturday. Democrats have given support for $1.3bn funds for border security, but continue their long-held opposition to Trump’s proposed border wall.