Trump claims he had no choice but to shut down the government and brags about where we are now
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office (screengrab)

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his shutdown of the federal government even though it did not result in Congress paying to build his desired border wall.


During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised a concrete wall from sea-to-sea along the southern border. Now the administration can't even agree if he wants a wall or a steel slat fence or some other type of border wall.

The president, who has billed himself as a brilliant dealmaker, is running for reelection with the campaign slogan, "promises made, promises kept" -- despite neither Mexico nor America funding his signature policy issue.

MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace played clips of the president and counselor Kellyanne Conway disagreeing over what to even call his request.

"That is all you need to know about where Trump is on the wall negotiations today," Wallace noticed. "His meandering, at times incoherent, ramblings in front of the press pool this afternoon had that same head-scratching theme to it."

"Asked if he, the president, who presided over the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, costing an estimated $11 billion, could've done anything differently, here's what he said," she continued.

"Could we have done it differently? No, not really," Trump argued in the Oval Office. "I think by having the shut down we've set the table for where we are now."

"If I didn't do the shutdown people wouldn't know, they wouldn't understand the subject," he continued. "Now they understand the subject, they realize what a humanitarian crisis it is."

Wallace had Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa join her for analysis.

"His aides have to feel he did a whole lot more than set the table," suggested Wallace, a former White House communications director. "He did damage to his poll numbers and he didn't build any support for the wall."

"At this point, Nicolle, White House officials tell me the president has to make a decision -- the way he keeps talking about a wall is about existing fencing at the U.S.-Mexico the border," he explained. "If Democrats offer something to bolster existing fencing can he walk away and call it a deal or not. If not we face another shut down."

"So far, the president who talks about his deal making skills, has been unable to cut that deal," Costa concluded.

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