- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2019

President Trump said Wednesday that the government is partially shut down because Democrats refuse to fund border security.

Speaking at his first Cabinet meeting of the new year, Mr. Trump said his demand for money for a border wall is justified.

“Walls work,” he said.

He renewed his challenge on the 12th day of the shutdown, hours before meeting with Democratic leaders at the White House.

“The Democrats want $12 billion more in foreign aid … but they won’t approve $5.6 billion for a wall. It’s purely politics,” the president said.

He said Democrats are playing politics with the wall because some of them have an “eye on 2020.” Mr. Trump said the border is leaking “like a sieve” and the wall is the answer.

“The wheel, the wall, some things never get old,” he said.

Still, the president said he is hopeful of working with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, whose party holds the new majority, and other Democrats in the new year.

As the president convened his Cabinet, he sat in front of a movie- poster-sized mock-up of the HBO show “Game of Thrones” featuring himself with the title, “Sanctions are Coming,” an apparent reference to Iran.

Seven of the 21 Cabinet posts are held by acting or temporary officials, including acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

The president also reported that he has received a “great” new letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with whom he plans to hold a second summit sometime early this year.

Mr. Trump said there would have been a “big fat war in Asia” if he had not sat down with Mr. Kim in Singapore last year.

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