President Trump said he doubts congressional negotiators will be able to break the deadlock on funding for a border wall and claimed that another government shutdown is “certainly an option.”
“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published late Sunday.
The president was referring to the bipartisan group of 17 lawmakers appointed to try to reach a compromise on wall funding and other immigration issues in the three-week window before the next possible government shutdown.
His comments come as federal workers returned to work on Monday following a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last Friday after Trump signed a bill reopening the government until Feb. 15 — even though it didn’t include the $5.7 billion he demanded for his wall.
Asked if he’d take less than that amount as negotiations continue, he said, “I doubt it. … I have to do it right.”
Trump also wouldn’t rule out another shutdown, saying it is “certainly an option.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the idea of a wall “immoral,” and Democrats are on board for enhancing security by increasing immigration judges and border patrol agents and adding more technology like drones and sensors but not a wall.
Trump also said he was skeptical about any deal that would involve trading wall money for protections for the so-called “Dreamers,” people brought to the US illegally by their parents as children.
“I doubt it,” he said in response to a question about “Dreamers.” “That’s a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time.”
The president said he’s very clear about what kind of barrier he wants.
“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,” he said.
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