Gra­ham: Trump not giv­ing in on bor­der wall

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Darlene Superville

WASH­ING­TON >> A lead­ing Se­nate Repub­li­can close to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says Trump isn’t giv­ing in on his de­mands for a wall along the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, the is­sue that’s caused the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down that’s now in its fourth week.

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham says he en­cour­aged Trump dur­ing a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion Sun­day to re­open gov­ern­ment for a pe­riod of weeks to try to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with Democrats that would break the im­passe.

But the South Carolina Repub­li­can said Trump wants a deal first.

Demo­cratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also has in­sisted that Trump end the shut­down first be­fore any ne­go­ti­at­ing takes place.

“I tried to see if we could open up the gov­ern­ment for a lim­ited pe­riod of time to ne­go­ti­ate a deal,” Gra­ham said. “The pres­i­dent says ‘Let’s make a deal, then open up the gov­ern­ment.’ Nancy Pelosi says even if you opened up the gov­ern­ment I wouldn’t fund a wall.”

“What is he sup­posed to do? Just give in. He’s not go­ing to give in,” Gra­ham said.

The as­sess­ment from Gra­ham, who has be­come close to Trump, suggested the shut­down could last for weeks longer, if not months, in­flict­ing ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial pain on the 800,000 fed­eral work­ers who have been idled or re­quired to work without pay for the du­ra­tion.

Sen. Chris Coons, DDel., called Gra­ham’s idea for a brief re­open­ing of the gov­ern­ment a “great place to start.”

“Stop harm­ing our coun­try and our econ­omy and let’s make our best ef­forts be­cause we all agree we need to in­vest more in bor­der se­cu­rity,” Coons said.

Gra­ham said he thinks Trump is will­ing to ac­cept the level of wall fund­ing he is seek­ing, along with some im­mi­gra­tion mea­sures Democrats might find ac­cept­able, such as help­ing im­mi­grants who were il­le­gally brought to the U.S. as chil­dren.

But Trump has said that while he is in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing a broader over­haul of the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, he first wants to hear what the Supreme Court has to say about the group of im­mi­grants known as “Dream­ers.”

Pelosi also has shown no in­ter­est in ac­cept­ing a wall — she has called it an “im­moral­ity” — in ex­change for the suggested im­mi­gra­tion fixes.

And Trump ap­peared to shoot down Gra­ham’s sug­ges­tion of a “wall plus” deal, say­ing Sun­day on Twit­ter that even Democrats don’t want to make “Dream­ers” part of the shut­down talks.

“The dam­age done to our Coun­try from a badly bro­ken Bor­der - Drugs, Crime and so much that is bad - is far greater than a Shut­down, which the Dems can eas­ily fix as soon as they come back to Wash­ing­ton!” Trump said in a sep­a­rate tweet.

Gra­ham has been among the most out­spo­ken Repub­li­cans push­ing Trump to use his au­thor­ity to de­clare a na­tional emer­gency to cir­cum­vent Congress and build the wall by tap­ping un­spent money sit­ting in var­i­ous gov­ern­ment ac­counts, in­clud­ing for mil­i­tary con­struc­tion and dis­as­ter re­lief.

Democrats op­pose such a dec­la­ra­tion but may be pow­er­less to stop it. Many Repub­li­cans are wary, too, fear­ing its use by a fu­ture Demo­cratic pres­i­dent.

“We don’t want it to come down to a na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion,” said House Repub­li­can Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. “Clearly the pres­i­dent’s got au­thor­ity un­der the law, but he’s said he doesn’t want it to come to that. He wants Congress to solve this prob­lem. Congress needs to solve this prob­lem.”

Trump has said he prefers giv­ing Congress more time to work out a deal be­fore pulling the trig­ger on such a dec­la­ra­tion.

But Gra­ham said Sun­day that time is run­ning out.

“It’s the last op­tion, not the first op­tion, but we’re pretty close to that be­ing the only op­tion,” Gra­ham said of an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.

Gra­ham and Coons spoke on “Fox News Sun­day.” Scalise ap­peared on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Stop harm­ing our coun­try and our econ­omy and let’s make our best ef­forts be­cause we all agree we need to in­vest more in bor­der se­cu­rity.” — Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to re­porters af­ter sign­ing a Housep­a­ssed a bill re­quir­ing that all gov­ern­ment work­ers re­ceive retroac­tive pay af­ter the par­tial shut­down ends, at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton on Fri­day. She is joined by, from left, Del­e­gate Eleanor Holmes Nor­ton, D-D.C., Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Rep. An­thony Brown, D-Md., and Rep. Don Beyer D-Va.

David Pritch­ett, a fur­loughed worker for the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, looks on as Sen. Cather­ine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., talks to re­porters Fri­day in her of­fice in Reno about the im­pacts of the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down. Pritch­ett, a BLM plan­ner in Reno, says the ef­fects of the shut­down will have a rip­ple ef­fect on fed­eral land man­age­ment long af­ter the gov­ern­ment fully re­opens be­cause of dead­lines that were missed for fed­eral per­mits on a whole range of projects, from gold mines to large recre­ational events.

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