U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he had a "very productive" meeting with congressional leaders to end to a partial government shutdown that was triggered by disagreement over whether to fund his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Trump's comments contrasted sharply with those from Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, who was among the group of lawmakers Trump met with at the White House. Schumer told reporters at the White House after the meeting the president said he would keep the government closed for "a very long period of time, months or even years."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and the lawmakers had a "lengthy and sometimes contentious conversation" and emphasized agreement on the wall's funding "cannot be resolved until we open up the government."
Despite comments from the Democratic lawmakers that little progress was made, Trump said, "we're on the same path" to reopen the government, and he touted the benefits of "a solid steel or concrete structure" along the border.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Friday the White House and congressional leaders would arrange for staff members to talk this weekend in an effort to reach a deal.
The meeting came a day after a new group of lawmakers was sworn into office in what is now a Democratically-led House of Representatives.
The House passed a plan Thursday to reopen the federal government.
The measure did not, however, include the $5 billion the president has demanded to build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico.
"We're not doing a wall," Pelosi, a Democrat, said after she was sworn in Thursday as the new speaker of the House of Representatives. She suggested that the money could better be used for border security technology and hiring more border agents.
McConnell called the House plan to end the shutdown "political theater," even though the Republican-led Senate passed an identical bill last month.
The legislation passed Thursday in the House called for the reopening of the federal government and the funding of the Department of Homeland Security until early February.
While Trump himself has not used the word "veto," other White House officials have. One official said the president told Democratic leaders he would "look foolish" if he ended the shutdown.
Trump is blaming Democrats for the current situation after insisting on Dec. 11 he would be "proud" to shut down the government if his demand for wall funding was not met.
"The shutdown is only because of the 2020 presidential election," he tweeted Thursday. "The Democrats know they can't win based on all of the achievements of Trump, so they are going all out on the desperately needed wall and border security and presidential harassment. For them, strictly politics."
Trump said the country needs protection and warned that crime, drugs and gangs were pouring into the United States from Mexico.
He also claimed there are as many as 35 million illegal immigrants in the United States, contradicting experts who say the number is far lower.
Meanwhile, 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are working without pay.