As the partial federal government shutdown continues, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held separate meetings about border security and discussions on the wall on Sunday.
The President offered his strongest endorsement yet of a proposal to build a steel wall, rather than a concrete barrier, at the southern border. (Video Below)
President Trump established his new pitch for a steel wall as a compromise to Democrats to move negotiations along, as the shutdown entered its 16th day.
“They don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel,” Trump told reporters after returning to the White House from a meeting with his advisers at Camp David.
Trump also suggested he would rather wait until the Supreme Court rules on the legality of his administration’s recission of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before negotiating with Democrats on the issue as part of the talks to end the shutdown, according to Fox News.
The President said, “I would consider DACA, but … I’d rather have the Supreme Court rule, and then work with the Democrats on DACA. I want to help with DACA, but … you know, it’s going to be before the Supreme Court very soon.” (Video Below)
At the sit-down at the EEOB, Pence — along with Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen — on Sunday discussed a variety of border-security measures with congressional officials from both parties, reported Fox News.
“Democrats were given what they asked for, which was a detailed, breakdown list of the administration’s proposals for border security that include the wall and other border protection measures,” a House GOP leadership aide told Fox News. “Democrats were given the opportunity to ask questions of Secretary Nielsen and hear DHS’ justification for the specific funding requests. Their justifications made it abundantly clear why it is necessary to have this level of funding to effectively secure our border.”
A Democratic official familiar with the meeting, however, said “no progress was made” at the Pence sit-down and charged that the White House was unprepared. (Video Below)
No further meetings between Pence and congressional staff are currently planned, per Fox News.
Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter, “We’re back at the White House this afternoon working with bipartisan staff from Congressional leadership. @POTUS is committed to securing the border, building the wall, & working to reopen our government.”
Pence said on Saturday during the first meeting, “Just arrived at @WhiteHouse for meetings w/ top level staff of House & Senate leadership today. Our aim will be to find a solution- not simply to end the gov’t shutdown- to provide funding to end the crisis at our southern border, achieve real border security & to build the wall!”
Later Sunday afternoon, President Trump called Pence’s meeting as a step forward.
Trump wrote, “V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.”
Trump’s steel wall proposal was the continuation of a White House strategy that has developed in the past several weeks. Trump first floated the idea of using “artistically designed steel slats” for the wall, rather than concrete, in December. He then suggested taking the concrete wall off the table at a Rose Garden news conference on Friday, as a concession to Democrats, per Fox News.
(Related Article: Trump Belittles Reporter After She Mocks Steel Wall: ‘I Know You’re Not Into The Construction Business’)
The Commander in Chief said, “We’ve been in touch with a lot of people, and I informed my folks to say that we’ll build a steel barrier — steel — that it will be made out of steel, that it will be less obtrusive and it’ll be stronger. And we’re able to use our great companies to make it, by using steel.”
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s Official Tweets:
We’re back at the White House this afternoon working with bipartisan staff from Congressional leadership. @POTUS is committed to securing the border, building the wall, & working to reopen our government.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 6, 2019
V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019