President Trump speaks from the Rose Garden
President Trump speaks from the Rose Garden on Friday. Image from White House video feed

As airport delays escalated on the East Coast, President Trump agreed Friday to temporarily reopen the federal government without a commitment from Democrats to fund his border wall.

Trump agreed to sign legislation reopening the government until Feb. 15 to allow time to discuss border security, but warned he could allow the government close again without a deal on his signature campaign promise.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15th again—or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” said Trump. “We will have great security.”

The announcement, which came after absences by air traffic controllers caused major airport delays in New York, Newark and Philadelphia, was met with both relief and exasperation from San Diego-area lawmakers.

“While I’m glad the President has decided to listen to reason, this could have happened five weeks ago thus avoiding the unnecessary suffering by the American people, who overwhelmingly don’t want a wall,” said Rep. Susan Davis, whose district encompasses central San Diego.

“Sad that it took 35 days of inflicting pain and misery on our federal workers for Trump and (Sen. Mitch) McConnell to come to their senses,” said Rep. Mike Levin, who represents north coastal San Diego county.

The House and Senate were expected to vote to approve the deal later on Friday.

Davis said the first priority would be to make sure federal employees are quickly paid after missing two paychecks.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.