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Trump and Schumer-Pelosi brawl over the wall ahead of White House meeting

In a stream of tweets, the president called for funding the wall, while the Democratic leaders in Congress said the votes aren't there.
Image: U.S. President Trump addresses Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri
U.S. President Donald Trump pauses while delivering remarks at the Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., December 7, 2018.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Hours ahead of a White House summit with Democratic leaders, President Donald Trump on Tuesday demanded funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S. southern border in a series of tweets filled with inaccuracies.

Trump is set to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to be elected House Speaker next month. The two leaders said in a joint statement Monday night that Trump knows the votes aren't there to approve the roughly $5 billion in funding for the wall that he is seeking as part of a deal to avert another government shutdown.

"Republicans still control the House, the Senate, and the White House, and they have the power to keep government open," said the two leaders. "Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown, especially at this time of economic uncertainty. This holiday season, the president knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate, and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement."

Pelosi told House Democrats at a closed-door meeting on Monday that Democrats have the leverage and won't budge on border wall money and that she and Schumer will offer Trump a plan that would avoid a shutdown.

The meeting will take place at 11:30 a.m. as the White House tries to strike a deal to avoid a government shutdown when the current funding agreement expires after Dec. 21. Border wall funding is the biggest issue.

Trump also tweeted that the U.S. military would build the wall if Democrats refuse to give him the money needed.

Despite Trump's claims, no new concrete wall has been built along the U.S.-Mexico border since the president began his term last year, although some new fencing has been put up.

Trump made the caravan a major campaign issue in the run up to the midterms, sending thousands of troops to the border. There is also no evidence that migrants are bringing disease with them as the president claimed in one of his tweets Monday.

During his bid for the presidency and for some time after winning it, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has said it will not.

On Tuesday, Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, told NBC News that the major takeaway from Trump's tweets should be that he "has pronounced the southern border 'secure.'"