When President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he had agreed to a three-week deal to end the month-long partial government shutdown, he was besieged by critical voices from both sides of the political aisle, as gloating Democrats crowed and dismayed Republicans lamented that he had “caved” on the border wall.
But The Hill reported that the White House wasted little time in firing back against the bipartisan criticism: the Trump administration has maintained that a border wall is still very much a priority, and it will be built “with or without the Democrats.”
Shutdown showdown comes to a close
Trump doubled down on that sentiment on Saturday, writing on Twitter that this was “in no way a concession.”
I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2019
Indeed, the president made clear in his Friday announcement that it was his concern for federal workers that compelled him to agree to the temporary deal that would provide time — and remove all previously stated Democratic excuses — for actual negotiations on border security funding to proceed.
Trump also said multiple times that he retains the right to declare a national emergency over border security.
Doing so would authorize the president to shift around previously appropriated funds in order to construct necessary border barriers without any additional authorization from Congress.
Wall will be built, one way or another
But it doesn’t seem that a national emergency is Trump’s preferred wall-building method. He said on Twitter on Sunday that he plans to begin negotiating with Dems “immediately.”
21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal, both parties very dug in. The case for National Security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the Border & through dialogue. We will build the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2019
In a tweet of her own Friday evening, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also encouraged Democrats to negotiate with the president over border security.
In 21 days President @realDonaldTrump is moving forward building the wall with or without the Democrats. The only outstanding question is whether the Democrats want something or nothing https://t.co/dMaDfBOIuT
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 26, 2019
Of course, it remains to be seen if Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will actually engage in good-faith negotiations over the next three weeks — but if they want to garner liberal policy wins (like a permanent solution to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) they ought to sit down and hash it out.
Like it or not, a wall is going to be built one way or another, with or without their input.
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