POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Menendez weighs in on Trump Oval Office spat with Democratic leaders

BY Brenda Flanagan, Senior Correspondent |

Sen. Bob Menendez told a conference on immigrants rights that he had watched the unprecedented donnybrook in the Oval Office between President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

News cameras rolled as fireworks erupted over Trump’s demand that Congress include $5 billion to build a wall along the southern border in a pending budget bill, or else.

“Twenty times you have called for, ‘I will shut down the government if I don’t get my will,'” said Schumer.

“OK, you want to put that on me? I’ll take it. You know what I’ll say? Yes, if we don’t get what we want — one way or the other — whether it’s through you, the military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government,” Trump said. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”

Trump initiated the bizarre public brawl, where Democrats had expected a closed-door discussion. Menendez’s reaction?

“I’m proud of our two Democratic leaders because they just simply said, ‘No way to your $5 billion under any circumstances,'” Menendez said.

The senator talked about how the Trump administration has directed ICE to double down on arrests. It picked up more than 100 people in New Jersey last week, noting 80 percent of them had prior criminal convictions or pending charges — which means 20 percent didn’t.

“We have seen people with temporary protected status threatened with imminent deportation and undocumented parents torn away from their children on the way to school,” Menendez said.

Menendez and immigrant advocates have vowed to resist Trump’s agenda. The president says he’s determined to get his wall.