As U.S. President Donald Trump underscored his unwillingness to budge amid the ongoing partial government shutdown, Americans remain divided in their views of the president's long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
A retired bookkeeper from Maine, who declined to reveal his name, told Xinhua that he strongly opposes to the idea of a border wall. "Don't do that. If people want to come here, and work like us, and pay taxes. I have no problem with that," he said, addressing himself as a Democrat.
Robert Taylor from Orlando, Florida, meanwhile, showed his support for the president's demand. "I'm kinda on the fence about that," he told Xinhua. "When you get people coming over without following the rules... Everyone should have the opportunity, but do it the right way."
Darin Imbriaco, a local visitor, said he is "torn" over the issue. "I think that we do need better border protection, but I don't know if that's necessarily the answer," he told Xinhua.
Some Americans have seen the issue as larger than itself. "This is a political stunt," David Leblang from Charlottesville, Virginia, told Xinhua. "It's not designed to do anything other than appeal to a set of constituents."
According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll released earlier this month, 57 percent of Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown, while 36 percent disagree.
Republicans and Democrats also expressed diverging views on the issue. About two-thirds of Republicans support the president for standing firm, which was echoed by only 21 percent of Democrats, the poll said.
Trump said Tuesday the ongoing partial government shutdown won't end until a border wall is approved. "I can't tell you when the government is going to reopen... (Not until) we have a wall, a fence, whatever they'd like to call it," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, noting that "much of it is 30 feet high."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Saturday that a physical barrier is off the option. Describing the wall as Trump's "bone to the hard right," Schumer said Democrats are pushing for "smart and effective ways" to secure the border, such as drones and sensors, and inspection equipment.
The partial government shutdown, which began midnight Friday, was triggered by the White House and Congress' failed attempts to resolve a budget impasse over the funding of the border wall. Trump has long demanded 5 billion U.S. dollars for the wall, a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, but Democrats were only willing to approve 1.3 billion dollars to enhance border security.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has given a "counter-offer" that was "between those two numbers."
Schumer, however, denounced the White House for sending mixed messages, tweeting Monday that "Different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the President would accept or not accept to end his #TrumpShutdown."
Wednesday is the first non-holiday weekday since the shutdown began, as more than 420,000 federal employees are set to work without pay, and an additional 380,000 would be furloughed, according to an estimation from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Senate will return on Thursday and consider business if a deal is reached on government funding. Mulvaney said Sunday that the ongoing partial government shutdown would likely extend into the new year.