By Kate Sullivan
President Donald Trump said he doubts lawmakers will reach a deal over new border wall funding that he would accept and said he will build the wall anyway with emergency powers if necessary, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Trump said he thinks the chances of a new deal being reached before the government shuts down again because of lack of funding in less than three weeks are “less than 50-50,” according to the Journal. Another government shutdown is “certainly an option,” Trump said, according to the Journal.
Trump’s reported comments come days after the end of the longest government shutdown in US history, an impasse that lasted for more than a month and led to hundreds of thousands of government employees missing two paychecks as Trump demanded new funding for a southern border wall, which Democrats refused. The agreement Trump signed on Friday that temporarily reopened the government does not provide any new money for the wall.
When asked by the Journal if Trump would accept less than $5.7 billion to build the wall, Trump said, “I doubt it,” adding, “I have to do it right.”
Trump told the Journal he doubts he would agree to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US illegally when they were children, known as Dreamers, in exchange for new border wall funding.
“That’s a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time,” Trump said, according to the Journal.
Last week, Trump offered temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall, but Democrats swiftly rejected the proposal. Trump offered a three-year reprieve from deportation to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to people from certain nations who qualify for Temporary Protected Status. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s offer was a “non-starter” and said Democrats are looking for a “permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS recipients that our country needs and supports.”
When asked by the Journal about the kind of barrier he would accept on the southern border, Trump said, “I have to see what it is. As long as it can stop criminals, gangs, human trafficking and drugs, I’m open to anything. But the only thing that will work is a very strong form of physical barrier.”