Trump: Ongoing Wall Negotiations Are ‘a Waste of Time’

President Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown at the White House, January 25, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque /Reuters)

President Trump on Thursday told the New York Times that the ongoing Congressional negotiations over border wall funding are a “waste of time” and suggested he would be forced to unilaterally fund the wall through an emergency declaration.

“I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what she’s doing and, ultimately, I think I’ve set the table very nicely,” Trump said, casting the 35-day government shutdown that concluded Friday as a learning opportunity for the American people, who, Trump argued, were previously unaware of the scale of the crisis on the southern border.

Trump’s comments come after Pelosi declared unequivocally Thursday afternoon, “there’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.”

Asked about Pelosi’s comments during a pool spray at the White House Thursday afternoon, Trump accused the speaker of “playing games.”

“If there’s no wall, it doesn’t work,” he added.

Trump has cast doubt on the ability of the 17-member, bipartisan conference committee to come to an acceptable agreement since it was established last week as part of a deal to reopen government with a short term funding bill.

“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal when asked about the likelihood that the newly formed committee could reach an adequate deal.

In the committee’s opening meeting Wednesday, Democrats presented a proposal that included some $57 billion in new Department of Homeland Security funding but did not include any funding for the construction of additional physical barriers.

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