'If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing'

  • Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi claimed after a dinner at the White House with the president that a DACA deal had been done
  • They said  that Trump agreed to enshrine protections for 800,000 illegal immigrants, aka Dreamers, in a border security package 'excluding the wall' 
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later said that there was no agreement on the wall during the meeting
  • President Trump said the same thing in a string of tweets on Thursday morning
  • 'No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,' he said 
  • Follow up message: 'The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built'
  • Trump again pushed Congress to pass legislation protecting the immigrants - but said he wanted 'BIG border security'
  • As he left the White House, Trump admitted he was 'fairly close' to reaching a deal with Democrats that excluded the wall and GOP leader are 'on board'
  • Pelosi and Schumer released a statement around the same time saying the president's tweets were not inconsistent with what they said 
  • When he landed in Florida Trump clarified that there will be a wall, just later, when he's ready for it - and there won't be amnesty for illegal immigrants 

President Donald Trump says he expects funding for his border wall to pass when he's ready for it or Republicans will become the obstructionists in Congress.

'Ultimately, we have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing,' Trump reporters from the tarmac when he landed in Florida for a briefing on Hurricane Irma this morning.

The president also denied that he was giving 'amnesty' to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children as part of an agreement he's working on with Democrats.

'We're not looking at citizenship. We're not looking at amnesty. We're looking at allowing people to stay here. We're working with everybody, Republican, we're working with Democrat,' Trump stated.

President Donald Trump says he expects funding for his border wall to pass when he's ready for it or Republicans will become the obstructionists in Congress. He talked to reporters from the tarmac in Florida

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President Donald Trump says he expects funding for his border wall to pass when he's ready for it or Republicans will become the obstructionists in Congress. He talked to reporters from the tarmac in Florida

His claim about citizenship directly contradicts what the leading House Democrat is saying about a conversation that took place over dinner last night at the White House.

Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference this morning Democrats and Trump have an ‘understanding’ and that people under the DACA program would get a path to citizenship. 

‘It’s in the DACA bill,’ Pelosi said. ‘The path to citizenship … they get way at the end of the line of people who’ve been here fully documented...Just in terms of timing it’s a long way down the road,’ she said.  

The president admitted earlier on Thursday as he left the White House for the daylong trip that he discussed a deal with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation and fund some border security enhancements but not a wall. 

Citizenship did not come up in the original dispute. The part of the conversation the White House was quibbling with was about the border wall.

After claiming in early morning tweets that 'no deal' had been reached, Trump told reporters awaiting his departure that he was 'fairly close' to hammering out an agreement that mirrors the one his White House smacked down last night as a false negotiation. 

'We're working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own, so we're working on a plan, we will see how it works out. But we are going to get massive border security as part of that, and I think something can happen,' Trump said over the roar of Marine One.

The president explicitly said, 'The wall will come later.' He also claimed that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are 'on board' with the DACA deal he hammered out last night at a private meeting with Democrats.

'The wall is going to be built, and it will be funded later,' he asserted.

Trump admitted Thursday as he left the White House for a daylong trip to Florida that he discussed a deal with Democrats to protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation and fund some border security enhancements but not a wall

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Trump admitted Thursday as he left the White House for a daylong trip to Florida that he discussed a deal with Democrats to protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation and fund some border security enhancements but not a wall

Trump explained in Florida that funding for the wall would not be a part of the immigration and border security package that's in the works on Capitol Hill. It's part of a separate set of budget and spending priorities his administration sent to Congress.

The president said he anticipates that a DACA deal will come to fruition in the next six months, although there is not one now, clarifying a disagreement that erupted last night and has sucked in all of Washington.

After Democratic leaders sent out a statement last night saying they 'agreed' with the president on a border package that doesn't include the wall, news outlets reported that Trump struck a deal with the opposing party and caved on one of his top campaign priorities.

The statement did not say there was a 'deal.' It referred to an agreement, though, creating mass confusion about what had actually happened. The White House added to the chaos by claiming in a tweet that Trump did not agree to exclude funding for the border wall from a DACA and border security package.

Except that he did, as acknowledge himself today.

'It doesn’t have to be here,' he said of the DACA and border security package, 'but they can’t obstruct the wall if its in a budget or anything else.'

 

The president indicated then that Pelosi and Schumer's original statement was not inaccurate, it had just been misinterpreted. 

'There was no deal and they didn't say they had a deal...they didn't say that at all,' he stated.

A debacle for both sides, the DACA 'deal' became a major distraction for Trump as he prepared to leave Washington for Florida to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. 

Trump said in this early morning tweets that 'massive border security' adjustments would have to be on the table for him to make a handshake agreement with Democrats.

'No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,' he said in back to back messages. 'The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.'

Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, and Pelosi, the head Democrat in the House, said in a joint statement at roughly the same time as Trump was speaking to the press at the White House that his tweets were not inconsistent with what they'd claimed in the Wednesday evening statement.

They said last night after a White House dinner that an agreement had been brokered that would protect the 800,000 immigrants who benefited from former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Trump had put the program on a six-month sunset and urged Congress to pass legislation in that window to keep Dreamers, as they are called, in the U.S. permanently.

The Democratic statement said that Trump agreed to set aside the border wall as part of an agreement to keep Dreamers from being deported.

Hours later, as he spoke to reporters as the White House, Trump seemed to confirm what Pelosi and Schumer had said.

'We want to get massive border security, and I think that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I think they agree with it,' Trump posited. 'So we met last night, with, as you know, Schumer, Pelosi and a whole group. I think we're fairly close but we have to get massive border security. '

Trump said he'd spoken to McConnell and Ryan since, and they had no qualms with the package that's under development.

'Oh I think he's on board, yeah, Mitch is on board. Paul Ryan's on board. We all feel, look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA, but we want, is we want very, very powerful border security,' Trump said.

President Donald Trump says he did not make a deal with Democratic leaders to protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation and fund some border security enhancements but not a wall 

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President Donald Trump says he did not make a deal with Democratic leaders to protect illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors from deportation and fund some border security enhancements but not a wall 

Schumer and Pelosi more or less agreed with Trump's take on the meeting in a joint statement that hit inboxes as he was talking.

'President Trump's Tweets are not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night. As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on the following:

'We agreed that the President would support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act.

'What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible. While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it.

'Both sides agreed that the White House and the Democratic leaders would work out a border security package. Possible proposals were discussed including new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment, rebuilding roads along the border and the bipartisan McCaul-Thompson bill.'

Pelosi vouched later at a press conference in the Capitol for the president’s overall sincerity, as well. 

‘When we're talking about this legislation to protect the DREAMers, yes I do trust that the president is sincere in understanding that the public supports that overwhelmingly, the public supports not sending these young people back,’ Pelosi said. 

It's the second time in two weeks that Trump has met with Pelosi and Schumer to talk about a deal with the potential to anger conservatives. The first time he met with them Ryan and McConnell were present. The meeting ended with a firm agreement to move forward with a three-month extension of government funding and the debt limit.

Importantly, the deal provided immediate aid to areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.  

A joint Democratic statement that hit inboxes at 9:45 pm last night that began the brouhaha over DACA and the border wall said Pelosi and Schumer had a 'very productive meeting at the White House with the President' once again.

'The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.'

At 10:21 pm, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they were mistaken.

'While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,' she tweeted.

Trump followed up in a series of tweets this morning that suggested the joint statement was wrong, too. He defended the Dreamers again - yet said 'no deal' had been made.

'Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!' he said. 'They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.' 

The DACA program provides two-year work permits and protection from deportation to its 800,000 recipients.

Trump said he was ending the program this month and giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before DACA paperwork begins to expire.

Conservatives were quick to point out that previous amnesty deals did not end with immigration overhaul like the one Trump has been pushing.

'Reagan led with Amnesty, 1986. Bush 43 led with Amnesty '06, Obama led with Amnesty '13. All failed so...Trump leads with DACA Amnesty 2017,' Iowa Rep. Steve King tweeted.

A joint Democratic statement said that Trump agreed to set aside the border wall as part of the agreement. The White House spokeswoman immediately slapped the claim down

A joint Democratic statement said that Trump agreed to set aside the border wall as part of the agreement. The White House spokeswoman immediately slapped the claim down

The deal announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (picturd on Wednesday) following a White House dinner would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as children

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The deal announced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (picturd on Wednesday) following a White House dinner would enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as children

The White House initially said the president had had 'a constructive working dinner' with Schumer (pictured), Pelosi and administration officials

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The White House initially said the president had had 'a constructive working dinner' with Schumer (pictured), Pelosi and administration officials

The White House had initially claimed that the president had had 'a constructive working dinner' with Schumer, Pelosi and administration officials 'to discuss policy and legislative priorities' such as DACA.

'This is a positive step toward the President's strong commitment to bipartisan solutions for the issues most important to all Americans,' the White House said. 

During a White House meeting earlier in the day with Republicans and Democrats, Trump brought DACA back to the forefront of the discussion.

'We don't want to forget DACA,' Trump said. 'We want to see if we can do something in a bipartisan fashion so that we can solve the DACA problem and other immigration problems.'

Trump has called Schumer a 'clown' and a 'loser' in the past, but has turned to the fellow New Yorker more recently to help break through congressional gridlock.  

'More and more we're trying to work things out together,' Trump said Wednesday. 'If you look at some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so that's what we're going to give a shot.'

 

Sanders said Wednesday that Trump was 'committed to the wall' while acknowledging that 'it doesn't have to be tied to DACA.'

'But it's important and he will get it done,' she said. 

Ryan, the House speaker, told AP Wednesday during an interview that deporting Dreamers was 'not in our nation's interest.' Trump was right to include a six-month sunset in his DACA termination orders.

'I wanted him to give us time. I didn't want this to be rescinded on Day One and create chaos,' Ryan said. Congress how has time to 'come up with the right kind of consensus and compromise to fix this problem.'

At a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Ryan reiterated his position on a DACA fix.

McConnell said in a paper statement that he and his colleagues 'look forward' to Trump's proposal.

'As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration’s legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issue,' the senator said.

 

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