Trump walks out of shutdown talks

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Media captionTrump v Democrats on the border wall and government shutdown

President Donald Trump has walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders as negotiations broke down on the 19th day of a US government shutdown.

The Republican president ended talks after Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer stuck by their refusal to fund his planned US-Mexico border wall.

Mr Trump called his meeting with the pair “a total waste of time”.

Some 800,000 federal workers will go without pay this week for the first time since the shutdown began.

Outside the White House the blame game was in full flow from both sides after the meeting.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Schumer said the president had abruptly left when Mrs Pelosi said she would not approve any wall funding.

He said: “He asked Speaker Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no.

“And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out.

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Media captionFive questions about Trump’s border wall

“Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way.”

Mr Schumer said Mr Trump had “slammed the table” before storming out of the White House Situation Room, a conference centre in the basement of the West Wing.

But senior Republican congressman Steve Scalise denied anyone had slammed a hand on the table.

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters he was “disappointed” that Democrats were “unwilling to engage in good faith negotiations”.

Kevin McCarthy, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said he found the Democrats’ behaviour “embarrassing”.

Though Republican leaders and Mr Trump insist the party is “totally unified” in favour of the wall, several moderate senators are wavering.

Mr Trump has demanded $5.7bn (£4.5bn) to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge.

But Democrats – who this month took over the House of Representatives – have refused.

Wednesday’s heated dispute came a day after Mr Trump’s first televised Oval Office address to the nation, where he described the border as a humanitarian and security crisis.

Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer aired a rebuttal calling the president’s claims a fake threat.

Mr Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency over the border “crisis”, in a bid to bypass congressional approval and build the wall.

Nine federal agencies are closed due to a lack of funding since 22 December in a shutdown that is poised this weekend to become the longest in US history.

A new opinion poll suggests just over half of Americans (51%) blame President Trump for the shutdown, but that 77% of Republican voters back his demand for wall funding.

On social media, federal workers have been sharing stories of hardships and frustrations. Some are now considering finding new jobs to make ends meet.

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Image caption

Honduran migrants walk toward the U.S.-Mexico border fence to cross over in Tijuana, Mexico

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