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The president accused “obstructionist” Democrats of sabotaging his attempts to safeguard the country’s security.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he told a campaign-style rally last night in Phoenix, Arizona.
Before the election, Mr Trump insisted that Mexico would foot the bill for the wall. But with the Mexican government adamant that it will not pay, the president appears to have accepted that the only way it will be built is with American money.
Although the House of Representatives has passed a spending bill with funding for the border wall, it faces an uncertain future in the Senate.
Speaking against a backdrop of violence, with more clashes between police and protesters early today, Mr Trump defended his response to the rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia, and fired another volley at the media coverage.
After the speech, police fired tear gas and flash bangs to disperse protesters in downtown Phoenix. One local TV station described the scene as a “battle zone” with masked demonstrators running from clouds of choking gas.
What began as a peaceful gathering outside the Phoenix Convention Centre, where Mr Trump was addressing a huge crowd, turned violent with fights breaking out and protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police.
The president read parts of statements he made in the days following the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was mown down by a car driven by a Nazi sympathiser. “The words were perfect,” Mr Trump told the cheering crowd. However, he failed to mention his most controversial remarks, in which he said there was “blame on many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. Critics from both sides of the political spectrum denounced Mr Trump’s comments in the days after the Virginia rally as he failed to condemn white supremacists and other hate groups.
But the president insisted the backlash was fabricated by the media. “For the most part honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, they’re bad people,” he added. “I really think they don’t like our country, I really believe that.”
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