Donald Trump spends Christmas Day delivering poisonous TV rant

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"I think that it's very possible that this shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress", said Mulvaney.

Trump praised existing construction of replacement walls on the Southern border, promising to visit the site in January. At the center of the funding battle is the border wall Trump wants to build.

President Donald Trump answers questions from the media after speaking with members of the military by video conference on Christmas Day, in the Oval Office of the White House. "I can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a wall or fence, whatever they'd like to call it", Mr Trump said, referring to Democrats who staunchly oppose walling off the border.

People walk along the USA border wall in an oceanside park in Tijuana, Mexico, at sunset, November 30, 2018.

The shutdown, which began Friday at midnight, has hit about 25 per cent of the federal government. "It's stressful for staff, it's stressful for inmates, and the government shutdown and not knowing if you're going to get a paycheck in a couple of weeks is an unneeded stress", he said.

At the same time, the panelists agreed that no one seems to know what Trump wants-including Trump himself.

The shutdown began early Saturday after negotiations between the White House and Republican and Democratic congressional leaders hit an impasse over the president's firm stance on a $5 billion demand to fund the wall.

"Democrats can come out and say they supported billions for fencing, but when push comes to shove, and this is something that will get passed into law, they suddenly back off", Chmielenski said.

Furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns. It affects some 800,000 government workers. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of government workers will either not return to work after the holiday or have to work without pay.

On Tuesday (Christmas Day), Trump again vowed to keep the government shuttered until his wall is funded: "I can't tell you when the government's going to be open".

The partial government shutdown continues as President Trump demands Democrats increase funding for the border wall. Mr. Schumer told reporters after a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, "If you want to open the government, you must abandon the wall".

"I do find the president's comments in that regard a little bit ridiculous", adds Erwin, whose organization represents more than 110,000 federal workers across the United States, in departments ranging from the Social Security Administration to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Any move to fire Powell would create immediate "market chaos", said Peter Conti-Brown, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School - Trump's alma mater.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One in flight as he travels from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, to Bedminster, New Jersey, June 29, 2018.