Trump denies he threw 'tantrum' over Mexico wall

10 January 2019, 15:14 | Updated: 10 January 2019, 18:23

Donald Trump has rebuked claims he threw a "temper tantrum" a day after he stormed out of talks with leading Democrats who refused to agree to fund his US-Mexico border wall.

The president responded on Twitter after he met with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer said they were in favour of border security, but claimed Mr Trump "slammed the table and said we have nothing to discuss" during their White House summit.

"Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way," said Mr Schumer.

On Thursday, President Trump wrote: "Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when he used his standard sound bite that I 'slammed the table & walked out of the room. He had a temper tantrum.'

"Because I knew he would say that, and after Nancy said no to proper Border Security, I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!"

He later told reporters on the White House lawn he did not "pound on the table" or "raise my voice" - claims he branded as "lies".

"I very calmly said, 'If you're not going to give us strong borders, bye-bye.'

"I didn't rant, I didn't rave, like you reported," he said.

"I don't have temper tantrums, I really don't... I didn't smash the table - I should have - but I didn't smash the table."

The comments come as Mr Trump headed to the border on Thursday as part of his offensive to make his campaign pledge a reality.

He has said the wall would act as a deterrent to those entering the US illegally, putting an end to human trafficking and other crimes.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer have announced they are prepared to pass laws to reopen state departments, which have been closed for almost three weeks over the border wall funding impasse.

At a news conference on Thursday ahead of Mr Trump's visit to Texas, Ms Pelosi said the proposed wall was "not the best way to protect our borders" and that the former tycoon's behaviour was "unpresidential".

She described it as "a policy that is discriminatory as to where people are coming into this country", adding: "If you believe in your arguments and are convinced you're right and can convince others, you don't have to shut down the government to prove that you're right.

"He knows we all support border security and there's a better way to do it."

On Wednesday, US federal employees told Mr Trump to "stop playing chicken with our lives" as they pleaded for an end to the shutdown.

The president previously said he would be "proud" to force a shutdown if he does not get the $5bn (£3.9bn) he wants for the wall, but some 800,000 employees are now facing another week without pay as departments without ring-fenced funding are forced to stay closed.

Speaking at a news conference organised by Mr Schumer and Ms Pelosi, prison workers' representative Eric Young said people in his industry "live paycheck to paycheck" earning between "$500 (£392) to $700 (£549) a month".

Mr Trump has told reporters he could declare a national emergency if the deadlock continues, which would allow him to bypass Congress and take the money he needs from the military.