- President Trump criticized Democrats and James Comey during his holiday call with troops on Tuesday
- Prior to that, he and wife Melania released their annual Christmas message on Tuesday morning
- The pair filmed the message at the White House, where they are staying for the holiday as a result of the government shutdown
- After they had finished, President Trump went to address the men and women of the armed forces who were seen waiting on his call
- That call quickly devolved, with Trump stating: ‘It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country, but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas’
Donald Trump, answering phone call from 7-year-old on Christmas Eve: "Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at seven it's marginal, right?" pic.twitter.com/VHexvFSbQ1
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 25, 2018
President Trump used his annual address to members of the armed forces to attack members of Congress and a former FBI director while defending his border wall and denying claims he colluded with Russia during the election.
During a photo op for that call, President Trump decided to defend shutting down the government over funding for his border wall and slam former FBI director James Comey.
He ended his remarks by declaring: ‘It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country, but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.’
The US government partially shut down on Saturday, and there is still no sign of any tangible efforts to reopen agencies closed by a political impasse over Trump’s demand for border wall funds.
‘I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen,’ said Trump on Tuesday.
‘I can tell you it’s not going to reopen until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want, but it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into the country, from drugs.’
He continued: ‘If you don’t have that, then we’re just not opening.’
Funding for about a quarter of federal programs – including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture – expired at midnight on Friday.
Without a deal to break the impasse, the shutdown is likely to stretch into the new year.
Building the wall was one of Trump’s most frequently repeated campaign promises, but Democrats are vehemently opposed to it.
He had initially promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but now insists that taxpayers absorb the cost.
President Trump has also now said he is willing to raise a fence instead of a wall.