President Trump began to edge away Monday evening from demanding that funding for his promised border wall be included in a must-pass spending bill, reducing the chances of a government shutdown at the end of the week by making clear he’s flexible on that timeline.
Trump told a group of 20 conservative media reporters Monday evening that he would be willing to return to the wall funding issue in September, two people in the meeting said. His earlier demand that it be included represented a significant impasse in budget talks, and the latest comments potentially could pave the way for a bipartisan deal just days ahead of the government shutdown deadline.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed to “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning that the wall does not need to be funded this week, but she said it remains a “very important priority to [Trump].”
“Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him, but we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year,” she said.
Trump also took to Twitter Tuesday morning to make clear that his overall position has not changed.
“Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc,” he wrote.
Chuck Schumer said “It’s good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations. Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues.”
Nancy Pelosi also praised Trump’s announcement, calling it “welcomed news given the bipartisan opposition to the wall.”
By headlining Trump’s change of heart as ‘flexibility,’ Fox is attempting to make him look good, instead of stating the fact that is a concession on his part. The reason he conceded on the inclusion of the wall is because he doesn’t want to take a chance that a government shutdown happens on his watch.
While that may be a smart move and knowing how Congress drags their feet, a better move would have been to meet with key budget people and figure out a way to do it all. Those departmental budget cuts he wants should be an important factor and should free up money for the wall. That’s assuming Paul Ryan, et al actually come up with a new budget rather than copying and pasting the last one, as he did with the healthcare bill.
The bottom line is this – when Trump gets praise from the Dems, it means he’s going the wrong way.