WASHINGTON — On the seventh day of a partial government shutdown, President Trump threatened on Friday to close the southern border and cut off aid to Central America if Congress refuses to fund a wall.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Mr. Trump tweeted Friday. “Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!”
Mr. Trump escalated his threats as up to 800,000 government workers were left in limbo and with Congress not set to take up the issue again until after the new year. “At this point, it looks like we could be in for a very long-term shutdown,” Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s, told CNN.
Democrats stood firm against agreeing to funding for a border wall, according to a spokesman for Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California and the incoming House speaker. “Democrats are united against the President’s immoral, ineffective and expensive wall, the wall that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for,” the spokesman, Drew Hammill, said in a statement. Mr. Hammill also noted that the White House has made no formal outreach to Ms. Pelosi since Dec. 11, when Ms. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, met with the president at the White House.
Mr. Trump also reiterated his threat on Twitter on Friday to cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as punishment to countries he claimed “are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money.”
Migrants have been fleeing Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, choosing to join caravans and confront Mr. Trump’s threats to prevent them from crossing the border over the dangers of life at home.
Mr. Trump has made threats to shut down the border completely before. Last month, Mr. Trump said he would close the border “permanently” if Mexico refused to send asylum seekers back to their native countries.
His latest warning comes as Democrats are preparing to take control of the House of Representatives and have shown no sign of caving on his demands for $5 billion for a border wall. Democrats are considering three different ways to reopen the government, none of which include money for Mr. Trump’s proposed wall, his signature campaign promise.
In a series of tweets on Friday morning, Mr. Trump also complained that the North American Free Trade Agreement cost the United States so much money “that I would consider closing the Southern Border a ‘profit making operation.’”
In another sign that the White House sees no end to the shutdown in sight, Mick Mulvaney, the budget director who is set to take over as acting White House chief of staff in the new year, said on “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Mr. Trump would remain in Washington through New Year’s Eve.
Mr. Trump, who had been scheduled to spend a 16-day stretch over the holidays at his private club in Florida, has postponed the trip because of the shutdown. His wife, Melania Trump, left on Thursday for the Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, a spokeswoman said.
When asked about Mr. Trump’s threat to close the border entirely, Mr. Mulvaney said that “what the president is trying to do, and rightly so, is shed some light on what’s happening here.”
Mr. Mulvaney also sought to divide Democrats, indicating that while he believed Mr. Schumer might be willing to come to a compromise on wall funding, “the more we’re hearing this week is that it’s Nancy Pelosi who is preventing that from happening.”