In Summary
  • In his Oval Office address, Trump, apparently hoping to claim the moral high ground, said he wanted to bridge the political divide in what could be the defining power struggle of his turbulent presidency.

WASHINGTON

A cornered President Donald Trump will hold talks with congressional leaders Wednesday over his demand for a US-Mexico border wall, with his options running out for ending a prolonged partial government shutdown over the impasse.

Trump gave a nine-minute prime-time address Tuesday night to make the case for his signature domestic policy idea, but made no concessions to opposition Democrats, who have rejected funding for the project.

RECORD

The impasse has left 800,000 federal employees without pay, and the partial shutdown that started December 22 is now approaching the longest on record.

"We MUST fix our Southern Border!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, ahead of planned meetings with lawmakers later in the day.

But there were few signs of a breakthrough.

"Neither side feel they can cave and not pay a terrible political price," Republican Senator Marco Rubio said on Fox News.

"Unfortunately, two things caught in the middle are securing our borders, and the men and women in federal government," he added.

One possible if temporary solution is individually funding parts of the government that are currently without money -- action that James Clyburn, a top House Democrat, said would get underway Wednesday in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

But there was no indication the legislation would be brought to a vote in the Republican-held Senate, much less signed by the president.

In his Oval Office address, Trump, apparently hoping to claim the moral high ground, said he wanted to bridge the political divide in what could be the defining power struggle of his turbulent presidency.

"I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security," he said.

Despite the softer tone, Trump also spent much of the speech doubling down on his controversial message -- popular among his right-wing base -- that illegal immigration at the US-Mexican border puts American lives in danger.

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