President Trump is heading to the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday in a bid to gain leverage in his stalemate with Democrats in Congress over wall funding that has prompted the partial government shutdown that is now nearly three weeks old.
Trump has an afternoon event planned at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Tex., and will then head to the Rio Grande for a briefing, according to guidance provided by the White House.
Back in Washington on Day 20 of the shutdown, Democrats are expected to continue to speak out about its consequences — including paychecks that many federal workers will miss on Friday if a deal isn’t reached.
In the House, Democrats also plan continue to pass legislation to reopen departments of the government unrelated to border security — bills likely to be dead on arrival in the Republican-led Senate.
7:30 a.m.: Castro pledges Democrats will challenge Trump ‘every way we can’ if he declares a national emergency
Ahead of Trump’s trip to Texas on Wednesday, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) pledged that Democrats would challenge Trump “every way we can” if he declares a national emergency and directs the military to build a border wall without congressional consent.
“We will challenge him in every way we can,” Castro said during an appearance on CNN. “We’ll challenge him here in Congress. We’ll challenge him in the courts. We’ll challenge him on the streets in protests. We’ll do everything that we can to push back on what the president does if he does declare a national emergency.”
Trump said Wednesday that his “threshold” for such a declaration is whether he and Congress are able to strike a deal on wall funding.
Castro said that while he agrees with Trump that there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, it does not amount to a national emergency.
“I think what he’ll find today, and what locals will tell him on the border — even conservatives — is there isn’t a national security crisis,” Castro said. “These people, unlike what the president says, are not coming to harm Americans. They’re coming because they’re fleeing very violent and very desperate situations in their home countries.”
While House Democrats are fiercely opposing Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding, Castro said they are open to compromise on other border security measures.
“There’s a distinction to be made between a border wall and more border security, and Democrats very much are willing to compromise on more border security,” he said. “What we’ve been against, and what most Americans and most Texans are against, is a border wall. We want, smart, effective border security, not a 17th century solution to the challenges we face now at the border.”
6 a.m.: Trump faces skepticism on wall from those most affected
As President Trump heads to Texas to continue making his case for a wall along the Mexican border, he is facing mounting skepticism from those who would be affected the most.
Nearly every state and federal official who represents a district along the border is opposed to his plan, The Post’s Matt Viser reports.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, this week said he opposes an emergency declaration to build the wall. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.), whose district includes 820 miles along the border, has repeatedly spoken out and voted against it. Dennis Nixon, a bank executive from Laredo who was a top Trump donor, has published a lengthy rebuttal to Trump’s desire for a wall.
Read more here.
5 a.m.: Trump takes his frustrations out on the news media
At the end of a chaotic day punctuated by a failed meeting between President Trump and Democratic leaders intended to end the partial government shutdown, the president went on Twitter late Wednesday night to air his well-worn grievances about a familiar adversary — the news media.
In a series of tweets and retweets, Trump once again voiced disdain for the ““Mainstream Media,” specifically naming NBC and MSNBC as the source of his ire, while also touting support for himself and his controversial wall ahead of a visit to the southern border Thursday.
Read more from The Post’s Allyson Chiu here.