Kaine on Trump border wall: Democrats don't want to 'waste taxpayer money on a vanity project'

Kaine on Trump border wall: Democrats don't want to 'waste taxpayer money on a vanity project'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of government MORE (D-Va.) on Sunday called on lawmakers to reopen the government, but said Democrats don't want to "waste taxpayer money" on a border wall, calling the idea — one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE's signature campaign promises — a "vanity project."

Kaine added during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Democrats "have always been willing to invest in border security" but said those funds should be "spent the right way."

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"What we don't want to do is waste taxpayer money on a vanity project that's ineffective, that the president said Mexico would pay for. But spending massive amounts on border security to keep us safe, Dems do it over and over again, and it's been Republicans that have been blocking it," he continued. 

Trump's demand for a wall to be built along the southern border is at the center of the ongoing partial government shutdown, which is now in its fourth week.

The shutdown, which began Dec. 22, was prompted because Trump refused to sign legislation to fund the government that didn't include at least $5 billion in funding for the wall.

Democrats in Congress have vowed not to approve any funding for a wall and have noted that Trump said while campaigning for president that Mexico would pay for the wall.

Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to begin construction of the wall, though he has acknowledged that such a move would likely be met with an immediate legal challenge.