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Trump confirms he is 'absolutely' willing to keep shutdown going for years


At a news conference, he confirmed that he had made that assertion to Sen. Chuck Schumer

Alex Wong/Getty Images

During a Rose Garden news conference Friday, President Donald Trump confirmed that he told Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he was willing to keep the government shut down for "months or even years" if Congress did not give him the funding he wanted for his border wall.

What happened?

After a meeting with Trump on Friday morning, Schumer told reporters, "He said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time ... months or even years. It's very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government."

During the news conference, CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett asked the president if he had actually told Schumer that he was willing to keep the government shut down for "months or even a year or longer."

"I did. I did," Trump quickly responded. "Border security — I did say that. I absolutely said that. I don't think it will, but I am prepared, and I think I can speak for Republicans in the House and Republicans in the Senate. They feel very strongly about having a safe country, having a border that makes sense. Without borders, I've said it many times, you don't have a country. I hope it doesn't go on even beyond a few more days. It really could open very quickly."

He also said that the meeting with Schumer and other congressional leaders this morning "may have been somewhat contentious, but I think it was productive."

While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a spending bill that included border wall funding in December, the newly elected Democratic majority in the House has already passed legislation to end the shutdown without wall funding. The Senate has yet to approve either bill.

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