WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Friday he’ll back a move to reopen the government for a few weeks, so government workers can get paid while the debate over border security continues.
“I am very pleased to announce that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and open the federal government,” Mr. Trump said in an address from the White House Rose Garden, adding that he had the opportunity to declare a national emergency to build the wall but decided not to do so at this time. Mr. Trump also thanked the federal workers who had been furloughed or working without pay.
“In many cases you encouraged me to keep going because you care so much about our country and our border security,” he said to federal workers. He said federal workers would receive back pay “very quickly,” or “almost immediately.”
Mr. Trump said that he expected Democrats and Republicans to cooperate on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, although he reiterated that building a wall was important to border security.
“I really feel that in working with Democrats and Republicans, we can make a truly great and secure deal for everyone,” he said. “Walls should not be controversial.” He added that the wall he wanted to build were not “medieval,” as Democrats have contended, but that it would be a “smart wall.”
“We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea,” Mr. Trump said, although he has previously explicitly supported a concrete wall. However, he said that the wall he supports would be made of steel and see-through.
CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett reported Friday afternoon that Mr. Trump was expected to back a continuing resolution (CR) — which would fund the government at current levels.
CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan reported that leaders zeroed in on an agreement that includes a short-term CR to Feb. 15, and a vehicle to go to conference on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill. No money for a border wall would be included in this deal. The seven-bill CR will also include a furloughed employees backpay provision.
The government shutdown has reached its 35th day, the longest in American history. Around 800,000 federal workers missed their second paycheck this week, with roughly half of them working without pay. Several workers in critical agencies have been calling out sick due to financial difficulties.
Flights in and out New York City’s LaGuardia airport were delayed on Friday morning due to staffing shortages among air traffic controllers, according to a notice issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Elsewhere, a flight was canceled due to a lack of sufficient TSA staff at the Monroe Louisiana airport Friday morning.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Trump’s former campaign adviser and associate Roger Stone appeared in federal court. Mr. Trump is expected to meet with mayors and pastors later in the day.
Stone was indicted by a federal grand jury and arrested. The indictment, unsealed Friday, lists seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding; five counts of false statements; and one count of witness tampering. Stone made his first appearance in federal court Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was to be released on a $250,000 bond.
Mr. Trump tweeted a response to Stone’s indictment, questioning how CNN had obtained footage of the arrest. The CNN reporter said that its crew staked out Stone’s house Friday morning after reporters noticed unusual grand jury activity in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and thought something could happen.
“Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?” Mr. Trump wrote.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier on CNN that Stone’s arrest and court appearance was completely unrelated to Mr. Trump.