President Trump surprised reporters in the White House briefing room by making an appearance for the first time in his presidency. In a five-minute speech, Trump spoke about securing the border, the government shut-down, and congratulating Nancy Pelosi's election and installment today as Speaker of the House. Trump said her election is a "very great achievement” and "hopefully we're going to work together and get a lot of things done, like infrastructure and so much more."
"I know they want to do that very badly, and so do I," he said, "I think it'll be a little different than a lot of people are thinking."
Pelosi announced in an interview clip yesterday that she will never allow funding for a border wall, which has brought the government to a shut-down, with hundreds of thousands of government employees on furlough. At the briefing, Trump reminded reporters that he will not reopen government until the $5 billion border wall is funded. "People of our country want it," Trump said about the border wall. "I've never had so much support as I have in the last week for my stance for border security, border control, and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier, in terms of calls coming in, and people, and tweeting."
Standing behind Trump on the dais where members of the National Border Patrol Council who Trump said were "tough, they're smart, they think, they love our country." He called them forward who spoke about their experience protecting the border as former agents. The president of the council, Brandon Judd, said “physical barriers actually work. There are experts who say walls don’t work. If you interview border patrol experts, they say walls work.”
Art Del Cueto, the spokesperson for the council said border agents have “skin in the game” because of the shutdown and said they fully support the government shutdown to secure our borders. “If I come to your home," he asked, "do you want me to knock on your front door or climb through that window?”
Hector Garza, a vice president of the council, spoke about "murderers and rapists" who are criminal aliens who are deported who will come back to the United States without having a physical barrier to stop them.
Trump partly blamed the booming US economy for attracting illegal immigrants. "The better we do, the more we have come in" he said.
Trump also explained that technology, including drones and sensors, will not stop illegal immigrants without a wall. "Having drones flying overhead," he said, "nobody knows more about this type of technology that I do. They’re fine but they do not stop the problem.
President Trump did not take any questions from reporters.