President Donald Trump criticized congressional Democrats on Sunday for rejecting his latest proposal to reach an agreement on funding for his proposed barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border and end the partial government shutdown, saying they shot him down “before I even got up to speak.”
The shutdown, now in its 30th day, began after Democrats refused to include more than $5 billion for the construction of a border wall in a funding bill. Trump has insisted he will not sign an appropriations measure that doesn’t include money for a barrier, and Democrats have insisted they won’t negotiate on border security until the full federal government is reopened.
Both sides had refused to budge, and talks to reach an agreement had stalled even before Trump delivered a national television address on Saturday. He proposed a deal to end the shutdown in which he would get $5.7 billion to build a barrier and funding for other measures to address illegal immigration at the southern border.
As part of his deal, he would grant three years of protection from deportation for undocumented people who were brought into the U.S. as children – often referred to as DREAMers, this group had been covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – and for people granted Temporary Protected Status because of a crisis in their home countries.
‘It’s anyone’s guess what happens next’: Democrats shoot down Trump’s plan to end shutdown
From concrete wall to steel fences: A timeline of Trump’s evolving border barrier concept
Democrats declared the offer a “non-starter” before Trump even delivered his address, calling the proposal “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives.”
On Sunday, Trump accused Democrats of ignoring the drug trafficking and crime he believes a border barrier would stop because they are focused on defeating him in the 2020 election – “which they are not going to win,” he added, enthusiastically citing the “Best economy!”
“They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work,” Trump tweeted.
House Democrats have approved several measures to fund the government, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not permitted them to come to the Senate floor for a vote because of the president’s promise of a veto. McConnell does plan to introduce Trump’s proposal in a Senate bill on Tuesday.
Vice President Mike Pence said it was “disappointing to see Speaker Pelosi reject the offer before the president gave his speech.” But he expressed optimism that the situation might change when McConnell puts the measure forward for a vote.
“Democrats aren’t going to accept that package,” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace told the vice president.
“I’m not sure that’s true, Chris,” Pence replied. “We’ve had a lot of dialogue.”
When asked if he believed seven Senate Democrats would join with Republicans to pass the measure, Pence said, “Well, as the president often says, we’ll see.”
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has announced her plans to run against Trump in 2020, criticized McConnell for “not letting us vote on the things that could pass.”
“I don’t know why he’s not standing up to President Trump and doing what’s right,” she said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Gillibrand – who in the past supported increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement funding and opposed amnesty for people in the country illegally – bristled at Trump’s suggestion that Democrats don’t care about border security and repeated her party’s position that the president must reopen the government before any negotiations.
“If he really wants to work on comprehensive immigration reform, open the government and then sit down with Democratic leaders to actually work on the stuff that needs to get done,” she said. “People need a pathway to citizenship.”
“That’s something we’re willing to talk about,” she continued. “But for President Trump to hold hostage public servants, it’s wrong.”
Far-right conservative Ann Coulter accused Trump of proposing amnesty for people who entered the U.S. illegally with his offer of extending three-year protections to some immigrants.
“Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!” Coulter tweeted Saturday.
“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer,” Trump tweeted in an apparent response to conservatives critics like Coulter. But he did leave the door open to amnesty as part of “a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else.”
The president added a warning for Pelosi.
“Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally – but be careful Nancy!” he tweeted, apparently implying such a crackdown was possible if the stalemate continues.
“Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat. She is so petrified of the ‘lefties’ in her party that she has lost control,” Trump tweeted.
“And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!” he told the Bay Area Democrat.
Trump also addressed Pelosi’s suggestion that he delay his State of the Union address because of security concerns sparked by the government shutdown. She also suggested he could deliver it from another location other than the House floor or that he could submit the address in writing, as was traditionally done in the past.
“Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech, there are so many options – including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance,” he tweeted. “While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!”
Contributing: David Jackson, Michael Collins and Christal Hayes