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Dec. 28, 2018 / 1:05 PM GMT / Updated 1:46 PM GMT
By Jane C. Timm
President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the nation’s southern border if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.
“We build the wall or,” Trump wrote in a string of tweets. “…close the southern border.”
Trump also said he would cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where violence and crime have motivated thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the United States. He also said another migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.
Trump’s string of tweeted threats comes as the partial government shutdown reaches its first full week amid a spending bill feud between Congress and the president.
Trump refused to sign a short-term funding bill last week that would have pushed the spending fight to February, insisting that Congress allocate billions for the border wall.
In a second tweet, the president claimed that building the wall would be a “profit making operation.” The president also complained about Mexico stealing American jobs and undermining the auto industry and said Central America’s violence-riddled Northern Triangle countries were “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”
The San Diego Union Tribune reported on Thursday that another caravan of migrants from Honduras is forming, with as many as 15,000 migrants, who could add to the backlog of asylum seekers who are currently in Tijuana, Mexico, undergoing the lengthy asylum request process.
Sarah Sanders appeared on CBS on Friday and said the president was willing to negotiate on the amount of border funding Congress gives him.
“I’m not going to negotiate in the press, but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point,” she said. “And the Democrats have not been willing to do anything. And that’s the sad part, they care more about keeping our borders open than keeping our government open.”
Democrats will take over leadership in the House of Representatives in January, and have telegraphed little interest in spending billions of dollars to help the president achieve a signature campaign promise.
Trump has alternately declared victory and decried Democratic obstruction on the border wall, repeatedly claiming that it is being built (when in fact fencing is being replacing and repaired) and that Democrats are just trying to hurt him in their opposition to spending billions on building a border wall.
Trump’s claims come as his Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visits the border on Friday, after two children died while in U.S. custody.