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Trump Says Contract Awarded to Build 115 Miles of Border Wall in Texas



President Donald Trump claims he has awarded a contract to construct 115 miles of border wall in Texas as a partial government shutdown over the U.S.-Mexico border wall extends into Christmas Eve.

“I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115-mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas,” President Trump tweeted. “We are already building and renovating many miles of Wall, some complete. Democrats must end Shutdown and finish funding. Billions of Dollars, & lives, will be saved!”

The announcement comes after President Trump met with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials on Monday to discuss border security issues as a partial government shutdown over the U.S.-Mexico border wall entered Christmas without a clear resolution in sight.

Though both sides have traded offers over the dollars, they remain far apart on the wall. The White House insists Trump will reject any deal that does not include money for a wall or fence; Democrats were holding firm in their opposition to a wall or other physical barrier.

In a joint statement Monday, Democrat leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), vowed that as long as the president keeps listening to the Freedom Caucus and others on the right flank, there is no easy resolution to the impasse.

“It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” the leaders said. They pointed to problems beyond the shutdown, including the plunging stock market and the president’s firing of the defense secretary. “The president wanted the shutdown, but he seems not to know how to get himself out of it.”

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said a counteroffer was presented over the weekend to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York. Mulvaney would only say the offer was between President Trump’s $5.7 billion request and the $1.3 billion Democrats have offered.

“We moved off of the five and we hope they move up from their 1.3,” he said Sunday, a day after a senior administration official insisted Congress would have to cave into Trump’s spending demand for the shutdown to end. The comments highlighted Trump’s unpredictable negotiating style.

Mulvaney said he was awaiting a response from Schumer, whose office said the parties remained “very far apart.”

Further, President Trump told his over 50 million Twitter followers Monday that he is waiting in the White House for Democrats to make a deal on border security. “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” President Trump tweeted. “At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!”

President Trump put off plans to head to his Florida estate for Christmas and remained in Washington. First lady Melania Trump, has returned from Florida to spend the holiday with him at the White House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 




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