Trump threatens to close border with Mexico and cut aid in Twitter tirade

Donald Trump has threatened to close the southern border. Credit: AP

President Donald Trump has threatened to close the US border with Mexico if Democrats in Congress do not agree to fund the construction of a border wall.

Trump tweeted on Friday morning that “we will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely” unless a funding deal is reached with “the Obstructionist Democrats”.

In a string of tweets, he also threatened to withdraw aid from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, claiming the countries are "doing nothing for the United States but taking our money".

Trump’s demand for money to build the border wall and Democrats’ refusal to give him what he wants has caused a partial government shutdown that is nearly a week old.

On Christmas Day appearance he issued a lengthy defence of his desire for a wall, saying it is the only way to stop drugs and human traffickers from entering the US.

In a nod to the political stakes he’s facing, the president said he wants the wall by “election time” in 2020.

A migrant family climbs a border fence into the United States. Credit: AP

The promise of a border wall was a central component of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

Congress adjourned for the week without a resolution in sight.

Trump's actions have led to a partial government shut down. Credit: AP

Democrats oppose spending money on a wall, preferring instead to pump the dollars into fencing, technology and other means of controlling access to the border.

Trump argued that Democrats oppose a wall only because he is for one.

The stalemate over how much to spend and how to spend it caused the partial government shutdown that began on Saturday following a lapse in funding for departments and agencies that make up about 25 percent of the US government.

Some 800,000 government workers are affected. Many are still working but must wait until after the shutdown to be paid again.