In her first press conference since a record-long partial government shutdown ended, top Democrat Nancy Pelosi renewed her party's vow that Democrats will not allocate funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Earlier in the day, Trump said Republicans are "wasting their time" trying to negotiate with Democrats and he doesn't "expect much help" from Congress to get the wall built.
"Thank you for your letter inviting me to deliver the State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 5, 2019", Trump wrote. On Thursday, Trump upbraided congressional Democrats for refusing to appropriate wall funding that is "DESPERATELY needed" - right before stipulating that, actually, the "Wall is already being built".
A short time later, Trump was asked at a bill signing about Pelosi's comments.
The move ignores Trump's warnings that they'd be wasting their time if they don't come up with wall money.
Pelosi had already postponed the annual address, blaming it on the protracted government shutdown that began after budget negotiations broke down over funding for Trump's border wall in December 2018.
Republicans angling for compromise have shifted from using the word "wall" in favor of the word "barrier".
"Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games!" he tweeted.
In response to Pelosi's comments, Trump cited migrant caravans traveling to the USA from parts of Central America and claimed that "Nancy Pelosi will be begging for a wall".
But in his tweetstorm Thursday, Trump dropped the semantics. Pelosi is "just playing games". "A WALL is a WALL!" he declared.
"Very sadly, Murder cases in Mexico in 2018 rose 33% from 2017, to 33,341".
On Thursday, Trump claimed on Twitter that the "Humanitarian Crisis taking place" at the border is "worse even than Afghanistan". Much caused by DRUGS.
Trump and the White House have proven to be an unpredictable force in the shutdown debate, mixing softer rhetoric about a multifaceted approach to border security with campaign-style bluster about the wall.
Since then, he has said it would not run the full length of the border, could be made of other materials such as steel slats - and that the wall could be called "peaches" if that was a way to get around the semantics of a "wall".
But the president has argued that while technology and agents are crucial to border safety, it's impossible to keep the country secure without a wall stemming the flood of illegal aliens that agents have had to deal with in recent years.