Trump walks out of shutdown talks

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.


 

The president tweeted afterwards that he had said “bye-bye” to the top Democrats.

Outside the White House the blame game was in full flow from both sides after Wednesday’s meeting in the Situation Room, a conference centre in the West Wing basement.

Mrs Pelosi, who is speaker of the House of Representatives, said the legion of unpaid federal employees were “collateral damage” to Mr Trump.

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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