WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and congressional negotiations on border security (all times local):
President Donald Trump says Republicans are “wasting their time” trying to negotiate with Democrats over border wall funding. And he says he doesn’t “expect much help” from Congress in getting it built.
Trump’s comments Thursday came the day after Democrats offered no money for Trump’s long-promised wall during the first day of congressional talks on border security funding.
Trump last week signed a three-week deal to reopen the government, giving Congress time to try to hash out a deal. He’s threatened to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress if they fail to reach a deal he can sign.
But Trump already appears to have soured on the process.
He says, “Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL.”
But he adds: “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don’t expect much help!”
President Donald Trump is again adjusting his rhetoric over his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As congressional negotiators opened talks Wednesday on border security funding, Democrats offered no money for Trump’s wall. Republicans angling for compromise have shifted from using the word “wall” in favor of the word “barrier.”
Trump used all capital letters in tweets Thursday as he addressed the rhetorical shift: “Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games!” He says: “A WALL is a WALL!”
Nevertheless, Trump in recent weeks had also modified his rhetoric, saying he wants “steel slats” along the border rather than the “concrete wall” he promised during his campaign.
He said he hoped that wording would be more palatable to Democrats and that, whether it’s called a “barrier,” ”wall,” ”steel slats” — and even “Peaches,” at one point — “whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same.”
The tweets come as Trump and Democrats remain at odds over border funding ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline.
Congressional Democrats offered a border security plan on the opening day of budget talks as another partial government shutdown looms in the weeks ahead.
The Democratic proposal includes new money for customs agents, scanners, aircraft and boats to police the border, and to provide humanitarian assistance for migrants. Missing is money for President Donald Trump’s southern border wall.
Ahead of Wednesday’s opening round, Trump tweeted that Democrats are “wasting their time” if they don’t offer money for the wall.
The Democratic offer was just a starting point in House-Senate talks on border security funding taking place in a basement room in the Capitol. Lawmakers must reach an agreement the president will sign before a Feb. 15 deadline signaling another shutdown.