Trump says he’s ‘fairly close’ to deal
Schumer, Pelosi agreed to ‘enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly’
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was “fairly close” to a deal with congressional leaders to preserve protections for young immigrants living illegally in America, and is insisting on “massive border security” as part of any agreement.
Trump, speaking to reporters before surveying hurricane damage in Florida, pushed back against Democratic leaders who claimed there was a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. He also said his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would “come later.”
“We’re working on a plan subject to getting massive border controls. We’re working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen,” Trump said. He added: “‘I think we’re fairly close but we have to get massive border security.”
Trump, in a series of early morning tweets, had contradicted the characterization of a private White House dinner on Wednesday night by his guests, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the top Democrats on Capitol Hill. Trump denied there was a deal.
Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement after that get-together that they had agreed to “enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly” and to work out a package on border security, excluding Trump’s planned border wall.
Not so, shot back White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said that “while DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”
Trump’s tweets prompted a fresh response from Schumer and Pelosi, who said his words were “not inconsistent with the agreement reached last night,” and that while there was “no final deal,” the president had said he would “support enshrining DACA protections into law, and encourage the House and Senate to act.”
They said in a statement that the details on border security needed to be negotiated, that both sides agreed “the wall would not be any part of this agreement” and that Trump said he would pursue the wall later.
And soon after, Trump appeared to confirm that approach.
“The wall will come later, we’re right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new,” he told reporters before his Florida trip.
He also said Republican congressional leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky favoured his approach on the immigration program.
“Ryan and McConnell agree with us on DACA,” Trump said, adding that he had spoken to them by telephone.