The president said that closing the southern border, which would dramatically impact trade and people living on the border, would be a “profit making operation.”
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Friday at the White House that the president is threatening to shut down the border because “its the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on how closing the border would be “profit making.”
Earlier on Fox News, Mulvaney said that the president canceled his plans to head to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida for New Years to instead stay in Washington for potential negotiations.
“We are here and they know where to find us,” Mulvaney said but added, “the discussions have broken down, we expect this to go on for a while, we expect to manage it.”
“We could be in this for the long haul,” Mulvaney said.
The president also threatened that he would cut off aid to three Central American countries — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — for being the source of the migrant caravans. Reports emerged that a new caravan from Honduras is preparing to leave for Mexico soon. The president has threatened to cut off aid before, but the administration recently struck a deal with Mexico to send billions of dollars in aid to Central American countries to curb migration.
“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!” Trump tweeted.
The government has been partially shut down since last week over an impasse between Trump and Democrats over funding for a proposed security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The government shutdown, which has kept hundreds of thousands of federal employees out of work, is expected to extend into the new year.
On Thursday, the Senate was in session for only four minutes after lawmakers didn’t show up. They aren’t expected in Washington again until the middle of next week.
Approximately 420,000 federal employees have been forced to work without pay during the holidays and another 380,000 are furloughed.
The impasse also comes as a second child has died at the border this month.
Felipe Alonzo-Gomez, an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, died while in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody earlier this week.
On Dec. 8, a 7-year-old girl named Jakelin Caal Maquin, also died in border patrol custody.