Arriving in Ft. Myers, Florida, on Thursday, President Donald Trump provided clarification about a purported deal reached with Congressional Democrats during dinner conversations on the previous evening. He told journalists in Florida that unless an agreement is made to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, “we’re doing nothing” with regard to the Obama-era Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He said, “Ultimately, we have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing." 

Trump told the press "There was no deal. They didn't say they had a deal." This was in reference to his discussions with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In several tweets earlier in the day, Trump had already emphasized “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 wrote that the border wall is “already under construction” and “in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls” that “will continue to be built.”

According to Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus, White House legislative director Marc Short had said that the Democrats’ announcement of a deal is “misleading.” She tweeted, “WH leg affairs director Marc Short calls Dems’ DACA statement ‘misleading,’ says no deal on DACA or border wall $$ was reached tonight.”  Ballhaus continued, “Short says POTUS and Dems did agree to try to address DACA “quickly.’” She wrote: “Short says White House is not committed to including border wall funds in DACA legislation if they feel ‘confident’ it will be included in another bill.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reportedly said at a private dinner party this summer that Congressional support for Trump’s promised border wall is nil. He reportedly said that only “one member” of Congress supports Trump’s promise to build the border wall. 

On Thursday, Schumer and Pelosi released a statement about their dinner with the president. Their statement was released after Trump made a series of tweets on the same day about the meeting. They wrote:

“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.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted after the release of the Democrat’s statement,  “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”

Here follows Pelosi’s “Dear Colleague” communique to Democrats on September 13:

“Dear Democratic Colleague,

“Tonight, Leader Schumer and I had a productive meeting with President Trump where we agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.

“We insisted that the bipartisan DREAM Act would be the basis for that protection and that we would review border security measures that didn’t include building a wall.

“We also urged the President to make permanent the cost sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act.

“Earlier in the day, Leader Hoyer and I, along with the Tri-Caucus Chairs, met with Speaker Ryan to encourage passage of the DREAM Act.  He suggested that he may need border security measures and we suggested the McCaul-Thompson border security package that unanimously passed the Homeland Security Committee.

“Any solution to the challenge facing the DREAMers must include the DREAM Act sponsored by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard.  I will keep you posted on any suggestions about border security that we receive.

“Hopefully, we can get this all done in a matter of weeks.”

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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