Republican mayor of San Diego slams Trump: 'We're the safest big city in America'
President Donald Trump's dispute with Democrats over border wall funding has led to the longest-ever US government shutdown. (AFP / Jim WATSON)

President Donald Trump continues to insist on funding for a border wall, maintaining a government shutdown that is now in its 33rd day.

Trump often cites the need to keep US cities close to the Southwest border safe from an influx of migrants and drugs.

On Wednesday, San Diego's Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer appeared on CNN to dispute the president's claim that the city needs a wall to be secure.

First, he noted that the border is secure.

"We've had border fencing for decades. You just talked about security. Just this past year, we were named the safest big city in America. We're proud of that," Faulconer said.

Secondly, he pointed out that a wall is not his preferred way of dealing with the city's Mexican neighbors.

"We're going to be talking about the importance of increasing trade," he said.

"We have a great positive relationship with Mexico," the mayor added. "It's about neighbors working together."

Rather than build a wall, Faulconer called on lawmakers to improve relations between the two countries.

"[It's about] building bridges. Free trade works," he said.

"This is not a partisan issue, this is about doing the right thing," the mayor said, about the need to reopen the government. Faulconer also noted that members of the Coast Guard, San Diego's main line of defense, have gone unpaid for far too long.