President Donald Trump is heading to the US-Mexico border on Thursday to make a case for his proposed wall, despite reportedly dismissing the trip as a photo opportunity that is “not going to change a damn thing.”
Trump plans to visit a border patrol station in McAllen, Texas — one of the busiest parts of the border for illegal crossings. He will discuss immigration and border security, and receive a security briefing on the border, the Associated Press reported.
It’s not clear what the trip will achieve. Trump, in private, reportedly dismissed it as a useless photo opportunity, saying: “It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it.”
He also reportedly said a televised address which he gave from the Oval Office two days later was pointless.
Trump’s comments came during an off-the-record lunch on Tuesday with television anchors, which was reported by The New York Times.
The border trip comes as the federal government enters its 20th day of a partial shutdown over a disagreement between Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for the wall.
It is close to becoming the longest shutdown in US history — the record currently stands at 21 days, which took place in 1995-1996.
The president stormed out of a meeting over the government shutdown on Wednesday after Democratic leaders once against refused to fund a wall or steel barrier separating the US-Mexico border.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump “sort of slammed the table” and walked out of the room when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said no to funding for a wall or steel barrier.
Trump has also repeatedly floated the idea of declaring a national emergency to start construction on a wall on the border in an effort to circumvent Congress. Democrats said he has no legal basis to do this, and Republicans are uneasy about the issue.
He has also reportedly instructed the White House Office of Management and Budget to explore whether he can use the Department of Defense’s budget to fund the wall without requiring Congress’ permission.Orban: I must fight French President Macron on immigration