US President Donald Trump said that he rejected a suggestion by Senator Lindsey Graham, R, that he allow the government to temporarily reopen while continuing negotiations with Congress over funds for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
"I did reject it," Trump told reporters as he prepared to leave the White House en route to an event in New Orleans. "I want to get it solved. I don't want to just delay it."
His comments came on the 24th day of a partial government shutdown with no clear path forward for Trump and congressional Democrats, who have steadfastly resisted the President's demands for US$5.7 billion to fund his long-promised wall.
Last week, Trump floated the ideal of declaring a national emergency, a strategy that could allow him to bypass Congress and direct the military to start construction of the wall.
Today, Trump said he is still not prepared to go that route.
"I'm not looking to call a national emergency," Trump said. "This is so simple you shouldn't have to."
During a television appearance yesterday, Graham, a Trump ally on most issues, suggested reopening the government for a few weeks and continuing to discuss border security.
If talks do not bear fruit, Graham said, the President could consider following through on his idea of calling a national emergency.
"I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug," Graham said on Fox News. "See if we can get a deal. If we can't at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers."
Today, Democrats issued fresh calls for Trump to allow the quarter of the government that has been closed to reopen.
"Why won't President Trump open the government while we continue to negotiate?" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote on Twitter. "Because he thinks it's okay to use Americans' lives, livelihoods, pay and families as 'leverage' for his wall. Stop hurting Americans and open the government now, @realDonaldTrump."
Schumer attached to his tweet a video compilation of news reports on the negative impacts of the shutdown.
Trump continued to try to blame Democrats for the impasse.
"We're talking about border security. Who can be against it?" he said. "We have drugs, we have criminals, we have gangs, and the Democrats don't want to do anything about it."
"The Democrats are stopping us, and they're stopping a lot of great people from getting paid," Trump added, referring to the roughly 800,000 federal workers who missed pay last week.