Trump's wall and the USA shutdown: This is where things stand

The Capitol Dome is seen from the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington

General John Kelly, who leaves the administration on Wednesday after a rocky 18-month tenure, broke with the president on key areas during an intriguing exit interview with The Los Angeles Times newspaper.

"For those that naively ask why didn't the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the previous year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us "NONE" for Border Security!"

On the seventh day of the partial government shutdown, President Trump on Friday threatened to shut down the U.S. -Mexico border if Democrats refuse his monetary demands to build his long-promised wall.

Congressional Democrats have rejected that figure and in recent weeks have refused to publicly endorse a figure above $US1.3 billion, which continues existing funding levels and includes money for new border fencing and levee walls, but not the concrete wall Trump once demanded before he started more recently talking about "steel slats".

Trump has consistently painted the asylum seekers and economic migrants in outlandish terms, raising the specter of rapists, gang members and people with infectious diseases roaming freely across the border.

The Republican leader's warning came as a partial federal government shutdown was set to drag on into next week, with legislators in Washington failing to reach a compromise over Trump's insistence on funding the border barrier.

"It is a silly semantic argument because people who just want to say "wall, wall, wall" want it to be a four-letter word and not respect what Customs and Border Patrol tell us they need", Conway said on "Fox News Sunday".

"Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border", Trump - who has adopted the 2020 re-election mantra "promises made, promises kept" - posted as recently as Friday.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reacted cautiously to Trump's threat to close the border, calling it an "internal affair of the USA government". "They said they could pass with the children", Lucas told the Associated Press.

Some federal workers began to feel the pain of the partial USA government shutdown on Friday.

Opponents - especially in the Democratic party but also some in Trump's Republican party - say that a physical wall is impractical and that the idea is being used as a political tool to whip up xenophobia in Trump's right-wing voter base.

Since arriving back at the White House early Thursday from a surprise trip to Iraq, Trump has had no public events, and aides offered few details about his schedule, other than saying the president was working and making phone calls.

In a burst of early morning tweets the president said the alternative to funding his hugely controversial wall project would be total separation from Mexico - including making United States vehicle companies pull out their factories based on the other side of the frontier.

In fact, Pelosi has all but locked up the support she needs to win the speaker's gavel after the new Congress convenes on Thursday, and there has been no sign that she and Schumer are in conflict.

Donald Trump has 5 more days to spin his border wall story into a spaghetti bowl of cultural and racial falsehoods.

Trump has spoken of an "invasion" of migrants and complained of "many gang members and some very bad people" among a thousands-strong caravan of immigrants that traveled to the U.S. in October.

"Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people".

The White House said the Democrats were provided with a proposal, but haven't responded.

"Everyone agrees that what we can and should be building on that southern border is that steel barrier that the President tweeted out".

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