KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -- President Donald Trump said Friday that Congress should provide all the money he wants for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, and he called illegal immigration a "threat to the well-being of every American community."

Trump spoke hours after signing a short-term spending bill that covers key government departments for two more weeks, until Dec. 21, setting up a pre-Christmas showdown over the wall.

The president wants the next spending package to include at least $5 billion for the proposed wall. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California rejected that a day earlier.

At an appearance at the Project Safe Neighborhoods conference in Kansas City, Missouri, Trump accused Democrats of playing a political game, and said it was one that he ultimately would win.

"Congress must fully fund border security in the year-ending funding bill," Trump said as he helped close the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods law enforcement conference, which was sponsored by the Justice Department. "We have to get this done."

"They're playing games," he said of Democrats. "They're playing political games. I actually think the politics of what they're doing is very bad for them. We're going to very soon find out. Maybe I'm not right. But usually I'm right."

He also said money for a program that encourages federal, state and local authorities to collaborate on crime-fighting strategies was increased by $50 million this year. The president said he will ask Congress for more money next year, but didn't say how much.

Trump said his administration is giving law enforcement officials the resources they need to do their jobs. He said there are more than 200 new violent crime prosecutors nationwide and cities have access to $600 million worth of surplus military equipment.

Trump noted he's also making police officers a top priority and believes anyone who kills a cop should face the death penalty.

"We will protect those who protect us," he said. "And we will believe the right punishment, and we all do, for cop-killers, is called the death penalty."

The president started his speech by acknowledging a number of GOP officials from Missouri, including Representative Vicky Hartzler, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and current Attorney General and U.S. Senator-elect Josh Hawley.

Trump noted that Hawley “really stepped up to the plate” with his Senate victory over Claire McCaskill, adding that the Republican controlled Senate would help get his nomination to judicial positions filled.

Hawley and Hartzler were also among the GOP lawmakers, along with Missouri Governor Mike Parson and recently-ousted Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder, who greeted Air Force One at KCI.

The White House says Project Safe Neighborhoods is the centerpiece of the department's strategy for reducing violent crime. 

The program started in the George W Bush’s Administration and was brought back to life by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The program encourages federal, state and local law enforcement officials to work together on crime-reduction strategies, something that’s an issue in Kansas City. Already this year there have been 120 homicides in the city alone.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker addressed the conference and highlighted record violent crime prosecutions, including federal firearm charges and drug defendants.

Whitaker said that, while "the numbers speak for themselves," the goal is not to fill up jails or the courts, but to reduce crime.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also addressed the conference.

This made Trump's eighth trip to Missouri as president and his second time in Kansas City.

The last time President Trump was in town was this past July to address the VFW and campaign for Hawley.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

Reporter

Digital Producer

Social Media Director

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.