Washington, Jan 19 (PTI) President Donald Trump on Saturday alleged that House Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is being controlled by the “radical left”, as he reiterated his demand for building a wall along the US-Mexico border to prevent the flow of illegal aliens and massive smuggling of drugs.

“Well I hope that Speaker Pelosi can come along and realise what everybody knows, that no matter who it is, they know that walls work. We need walls. Whether it’s personal or not, it’s not personal for me,” Trump said at the White House before leaving for Dover Airforce Base for the return of remains of four Americans killed in Syria this week. He will also visit the families.

Trump was responding to questions about the unprecedented partial government shutdown that Saturday entered a record 29th day.

The shutdown because of the sharp differences between the Trump-led Republican party and the Pelosi-led opposition Democrats has resulted in throwing out of some 800,000 federal government employees temporarily out of work and without paychecks. This has paralysed the functioning of several key wings of the US federal government.

“She’s being controlled by the radical left, which is a problem. And you know, she’s under total control of the radical left. I think that’s a very bad thing for her. I think it’s a very bad thing for the Democrats,” he said.

“Everybody knows that walls work. You look at different places, they put up a wall, no problems. You look at San Antonio, you look at so many different places. They go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities immediately, immediately. It works, we have to put them up, and we will put them up,” said the president.

Trump is scheduled to deliver a major address to the nation later in the day on border situation and government shutdown.

Without giving details of his upcoming announcement, Trump said it will be an important statement, having to do with caravans, of illegal immigrants coming from several Latin American countries who are now headed towards the US-Mexico border to illegally enter the US.

“They (caravans) are coming up. They have a big one coming up now. I’m disappointed that Mexico is not stopping them. I mean, Mexico seems unfortunately powerless to stop them. Many got through, they broke through the Mexican area, where in theory they were guarded and they weren’t so well guarded,” Trump said accusing the Mexican government of letting illegal immigrants pass through the country.

“If we had a wall, we wouldn’t have a problem. Now we have too many open areas. The walls that we’ve picked, the walls that we’ve built hold beautifully. We have a lot of open areas, and that’s too bad. Now the previous caravans we’ve stopped. They’re right now in Tijuana. I don’t know what they’re doing in Tijuana, but they’re not in our country. That I can tell you,” Trump said.

Responding to a question, Trump said that his administration is making a lot of progress with regard to building the border wall.

“I think we’re making a lot of progress. You know, we’re building wall as we speak. Nobody covers that. I understand that. But we’re building wall as we speak, we’re going to continue,” he said.

He said America cannot be secure without the wall.

“You have human traffickers, you have criminals of all kinds, you have drug pushers and drug dealers, like at a level that people haven’t seen…Over the last five-six years, it’s gotten to a point, nobody’s seen anything like it. The border patrol has done an incredible job. But we need the help and the backup on a wall,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.