Trump silent on State of Union threat but hits Pelosi over border wall

President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE on Thursday insisted that Congress must grant his request for money to build a border wall, despite mounting pressure to end the record-long government shutdown.

“The federal government remains shut down because congressional Democrats refuse to approve border security,” Trump said. “We are going to have powerful, strong border security.”


In remarks at the Pentagon focused on missile defense, Trump took aim at Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats face critical 72 hours Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — 'Too late to evacuate' after wildfire debris Greene fined a third time for refusing to wear mask on House floor MORE (D-Calif.) and accused her of refusing to allow moderate Democrats to negotiate over his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding.

The president did not address Pelosi’s request to reschedule his Jan. 29 State of the Union address, a move that raised the stakes in the standoff between the two leaders.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol before Trump’s speech, Pelosi appeared surprised that the president — known for hitting back at critics — had not responded to her request made Wednesday morning.  

“We haven’t heard. Very silent, more than 24 hours,” she said.

White House officials said Wednesday they felt no rush to respond to Pelosi’s letter, which did not formally rescind her invitation to the president to speak. 

Democrats have repeatedly dismissed the president’s request and demanded the government reopen before resuming negotiations on border security.

“The party has been hijacked by the open-borders fringe within the party,” Trump said Thursday. “The radical left becoming the radical Democrats. Hopefully, Democrat lawmakers will step forward to do what is right for our country.”

The president met with a group of centrist Democrats at the White House on Wednesday, but the discussion produced no breakthrough as members urged him to end the shutdown.

Trump’s defiant statement is the latest signal the partial shutdown, which has entered its 27th day, has no end in sight.

Trump is also facing pressure, however, from some White House advisers and Republicans in Congress who want him to end the shutdown, which is beginning to take a toll on the 800,000 federal workers who are going without paychecks and beyond.

An internal White House study showed a prolonged shutdown could eventually push the U.S. into an economic contraction, according to The New York Times.

Mike Lillis contributed.