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Anderson Cooper: Trump is telling federal workers going without pay ‘let them eat wall’

CNN host Anderson Cooper excoriated President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE on Friday, arguing that the president is telling federal employees who are working without pay amid the partial government shutdown to “let them eat wall.”

Cooper panned Trump after the president repeated his claim that federal workers support his demands for funding for a U.S.–Mexico border wall in order to end the ongoing shutdown.

“The president of the United States, who is a billionaire, says the 800,000 people who aren’t getting paid because of the government shutdown are okay with that,” Cooper said. “‘Just ask them,’ he says. He also says he thinks their landlords will be okay with them not paying the rent.”

“Later in the program, you will meet some people who are not getting paid right now,” he continued. “They have bills to pay, credit cards, groceries as well. Health insurance, mortgage payments, the rent. The president has words for them, too. 'Let them eat wall.'”

The government entered a partial shutdown on Dec. 22, closing 25 percent of the government and leaving hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed or forced to work without pay for the time being. The shutdown began amid an impasse between the White House and lawmakers over Trump's demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding. 

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Trump dug in on Friday on his demand for $5.6 billion to fund his proposed U.S.–Mexico border wall as part of any deal to end the shutdown. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) have both said they would not agree to allocate any additional funds for the wall. 

Trump also threatened to keep parts of the government shut down for years until he gets his desired funding to build the border wall.

A working group at the White House is meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Saturday to attempt to negotiate an end to the shutdown, which entered its 15th day on Saturday.

The House passed spending bills this week to reopen the government without border wall funding, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal McConnell: 'Good chance' of deal with Biden on infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) has refused to bring the House-passed measure to the floor for a vote, saying he wouldn’t introduce any legislation that didn’t have the public endorsement of the White House.