"Nothing But Compassion" For Migrants, Says Outgoing White House Chief

In one of his many tweets since the shutdown started, Trump wrote: "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's comments on Monday came after officials, including his departing chief of staff, indicated that the president's signature campaign pledge to build the wall would not be fulfilled as advertised.

"I told the president the last thing in my view that you need in the chief of staff is someone that looks at every issue through a political lens", Kelly said.

The president's demand for "border security" funding triggered a partial government shutdown with no end in sight. He reportedly suggested working with the Democrats on helping the young immigrants known as Dreamers. Sen. While Democrats went on vacation, he stayed at the White House and tweeted up a storm, only taking a break for a surprise trip to Iraq and Germany to visit United States troops overseas.

Democrats say the wall idea - one of the president's key election campaign platforms - is a distraction from more complicated immigration problems and a tool for Trump to whip up support among his conservative base.

Republican Rep. Walter Jones has said lawmakers shouldn't contribute to the national debt when coming up with a compromise for the border wall funding. Democrats refuse to approve funding and the president - who has made hardline immigration policies a centrepiece of his presidency - has retaliated by refusing to sign off on a wider spending bill, leaving some 800,000 federal employees without pay.

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The partial shutdown began December 22 after Trump bowed to conservative demands that he fight to make good on his vow and secure funding for the wall before Republicans lose control of the House on Wednesday.

The shutdown is now in its 10th day with no end in sight, and likely extending past Thursday when a new Congress is seated, with opposition Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives from Trump's Republican Party.

It should be pointed out too that Mr Kelly himself had said early in the Trump presidency that it would be a wall, and not a fence. He's in Washington ready to negotiate. Trump still said "wall' for most of the last two years".

As the dispute dragged on over the holiday break, Trump renewed claims that the wall was necessary to keep out undocumented migrants and criminal gangs, and has tried to lay the blame for the shutdown on Democrats.

Kelly continued, "The president still says "wall" - oftentimes frankly he'll say "barrier" or 'fencing, ' now he's tended toward steel slats".

During an interview on "Fox News Sunday", Conway was asked about President Trump's expectations for the week and year to come, and she said, "First, the Democrats have to come back".

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House Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that on Thursday, the House would vote on a series of measures that would reopen the government.

Negotiations on lifting that partial government shutdown, perhaps by providing some border security funding, have sputtered out and no new debate is scheduled before next Wednesday.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump linked Democrats' "pathetic immigration policies" with the deaths of two Guatemalan children while in US custody.

Mulvaney added of the shutdown: "We do expect this to go on for a while".

On the campaign trail, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has refused.

Thus, even if both chambers do ultimately pass a funding measure that does not contain wall funding, a presidential veto would keep the government closed, since Trump nearly certainly retains enough support in both chambers for his wall plans to sustain a veto, at least for now.

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