More than two weeks into a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump is not budging on his demands for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the southern border.
"We have to build the wall or we have to build a barrier," he told reporters on Sunday, speaking outside the White House before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Camp David with his senior advisers.
"This is a very important battle to win from the standpoint of safety, number one, defining our country, and who we are," he said. "Also from the standpoint of dollars. This wall will pay for itself many times through the course of the year."
It's now the 16th day that some 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed without pay or are being forced to work without pay if they are considered "essential," while their agencies' funding remains uncertain.
"This shutdown could end tomorrow or it also could go on for a long time," Trump told reporters.
Vice President Mike Pence and White House aides will meet again with congressional staffers on Sunday to discuss the shutdown.
"I don't expect to have anything happen at that meeting," said Trump. "But I think we're going to have some very serious talks come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday."
Negotiations have been stalled for weeks because Republicans are trying to appease Trump's demands to build a wall on the US–Mexico border after he retraced his initial indication to Republican leaders that he would sign a bill without wall money to keep the government open.
"Everybody's playing games, but I'll tell you this: I think the Democrats want to make a deal," he said, later adding, "Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and myself could solve this in 20 minutes if they want to. If they don't want to, it's going to go on for a long time."
Trump also repeated that he "may decide a national emergency" to build the wall.