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NPR: Updated 12:32 p.m. ET
In a testy Oval Office exchange with the two top congressional Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump made clear he would be “proud” to shut down the government in less than two weeks if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall.
“I’ll be the one to shut it down. I will take the mantle. And I will shut it down for border security,” Trump told House and Senate Democratic leaders as Vice President Pence sat by stoically.
The statement from Trump came after minutes of tense back-and-forths with both Pelosi, the likely incoming House speaker when Democrats take control of the House, and Schumer, in an extraordinary show before the cameras and the press.
Democratic leaders have made it clear they don’t intend to give the president a victory on funding for his signature border wall.
“Republicans still control the House, the Senate, and the White House, and they have the power to keep government open,” Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Minority Leader Pelosi said in a joint statement on the eve of the meeting with Trump. “This holiday season, the president knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate, and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”