‘President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!,’ he tweeted.
It’s the latest missive from the president who’s fighting his way out of a partial government shutdown over a battle with Democrats over funding his wall. Negotiations are at a standstill on day nine.
And three confidantes of Trump, including his departing chief of staff, are indicating that the president’s signature campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would not be fulfilled as advertised.
White House chief of staff John Kelly told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday that Trump abandoned the notion of ‘a solid concrete wall early on in the administration.’
‘To be honest, it’s not a wall,’ Kelly said, adding that the mix of technological enhancements and ‘steel slat’ barriers the president now wants along the border resulted from conversations with law enforcement professionals.
Along the same lines, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called discussion of the apparent contradiction ‘a silly semantic argument’.
‘There may be a wall in some places, there may be steel slats, there may be technological enhancements,’ Conway told ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ”But only saying ‘wall or no wall’ is being very disingenuous and turning a complete blind eye to what is a crisis at the border.’
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President Donald Trump on Sunday argued since the Obamas have a wall around their D.C. home the country should have a border wall
The wall was added to the home before the former first couple moved in as part of a security upgrade
The wall is a combination of brick pillars and steel posts; it’s height is unknown
Security upgrades were made to the home before the Obamas moved in
Trump has been using every argument he can to try and get funding for his wall
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is close to the president, emerged from a Sunday lunch at the White House to tell reporters that ‘the wall has become a metaphor for border security’ and referred to ‘a physical barrier along the border.’
Graham said Trump was ‘open-minded’ about a broader immigration agreement, saying the budget impasse presented an opportunity to address issues beyond the border wall. But a previous attempt to reach a compromise that addressed the status of ‘Dreamers’ – young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children- broke down last year as a result of escalating White House demands.
Graham said he hoped to end the shutdown by offering Democrats incentives to get them to vote for wall funding and told CNN before his lunch with Trump that ‘there will never be a deal without wall funding’.
Trump has been throwing every argument he can on Twitter since the government shut down on December 21 to try and get the $5 billion it will take to build it.
The Obama home in the posh D.C. neighborhood of Kalorama had a wall built around it before they moved in as part of security upgrades put in by the Secret Service.
Trump is in a fight with Democrats amid a partial government shutdown, which is on day nine
It’s unclear how tall the wall is around the Obama home and it’s not all brick – it’s a combination of brick columns and steel pillars.
The 8,200-square-foot home is blocked off to the public by concrete barriers, which are manned 24-7 by Secret Service officers.
Trump would be familiar with the home as his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner near live the Obamas – although their home has no wall.
The Obamas originally rented the 9 bedroom home but last June paid $8.1million for it. They moved in after they left the White House in January 2017.
The Obamas said they would stay in Washington while their youngest daughter, Sasha, completes high school at Sidwell Friends School, where she is in her junior year.
Other high-profile residents live in the neighborhood, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
Trump has been pushing for his border wall amid an argument with Democrats over funding for it.
Negotiations to reopen it are at a stand still with no resolution likely before the new year begins.
Trump has refused to accept a bill that does not include at least $2.5 billion for the border wall – down from his original demand of $5 billion – but Democrats have said they will not go above $1.3 billion they have already offered.
A guard house was also added to the home, which the Obamas purchased last year
Graham proposed to help two groups of immigrants get approval to continue living in the U.S: about 700,000 young ‘Dreamers’ brought into the U.S. illegally as children and about 400,000 people receiving temporary protected status because they are from countries struggling with natural disasters or armed conflicts. He also said the compromise should include changes in federal law to discourage people from trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
‘Democrats have a chance here to work with me and others, including the president, to bring legal status to people who have very uncertain lives,’ Graham said.
The partial government shutdown began December 22 after Trump bowed to conservative demands that he fight to make good on his vow and secure funding for the wall before Republicans lose control of the House on Wednesday. Democrats have remained committed to blocking the president’s priority, and with neither side engaging in substantive negotiation, the effect of the partial shutdown was set to spread and to extend into the new year.
In August 2015 during his presidential campaign, Trump made his expectations for the border explicitly clear, as he parried criticism from rival Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.
‘Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a ‘fence,” he tweeted. ‘It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference!’
Conway claimed Sunday that ‘the president has already compromised’ by dropping his request for the wall from $25 billion, and she called on Democrats to return to the negotiating table.
‘It is with them,’ she said, explaining why Trump was not reaching out to Democrats.
‘It is a silly semantic argument because people who just want to say ‘wall, wall, wall’ want that to be a four-letter word,’ Conway told Fox News Sunday.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham at the White House after lunch with Trump on Sunday
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, told Fox News on Sunday: ‘It is a silly semantic argument because people who just want to say ‘wall, wall, wall’ want that to be a four-letter word.’
Outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly defended his tenure atop the White House in a two-hour long interview with the Los Angeles Times. He also said the Trump administration long ago gave up on the notion that there would be a concrete wall along the border with Mexico
What the President means by a ‘wall’ is a combination of ‘steel slats’ along certain segments of the border in addition to technological equipment that will help border agents stem the flow of illegal aliens and contraband, according to Conway.
Asked on Sunday if Trump will sign or veto a bill that Democrats pass, Conway said that ‘it depends what’s in it,’ but added that Trump is ‘ready to negotiate.’
‘He wants to make a deal on border security. Where are they now? Nancy Pelosi is in Hawaii,’ Conway said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.’ ‘And negotiation by definition has to include both sides. He’s in the White House. He’s in Washington ready to negotiate.
Graham also appeared to backtrack a bit, saying that the wall was merely a ‘metaphor’ for border security.
‘The wall has become a metaphor for border security,’ Graham told reporters outside the White House on Sunday.
‘What we’re talking about is a physical barrier where it makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with a physical barrier along the border where it makes sense.’
Graham said the President is open to a compromise with Democrats that includes $5 billion for border security in exchange for legislative changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
‘(The) President didn’t commit but I think he’s very open minded,’ Graham said after he had lunch with Trump.
He said Trump’s first response to the plan was describing it as ‘interesting.’
The Trumps and the Obamas at late President George H.W. Bush’s funeral earlier this month
The Obamas moved into their D.C. home after Trump became president so Sasha could finish out her time at her Washington D.C. high school
Democrats maintain that they have already presented the White House with three options to end the shutdown, none of which fund the wall, and insist that it’s Trump’s move.
‘At this point, it’s clear the White House doesn’t know what they want when it comes to border security,’ said Justin Goodman, Schumer’s spokesman. ‘While one White House official says they’re willing to compromise, another says the president is holding firm at no less than $5 billion for the wall. Meanwhile, the president tweets blaming everyone but himself for a shutdown he called for more than 25 times.’
After canceling a vacation to his private Florida club, Trump spent the weekend at the White House. He has remained out of the public eye since returning early Thursday from a 29-hour trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, instead taking to Twitter to attack Democrats. He also moved to defend himself from criticism that he couldn’t deliver on the wall while the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.
Trump has taken to Twitter to try to shift blame to Democrats
‘For those that naively ask why didn’t the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the last year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us ‘NONE’ for Border Security!,’ he tweeted. ‘Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown.’
Democrats have vowed to pass legislation restoring the government as soon as they take control of the House on Thursday, but that won’t accomplish anything unless Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate go along with it.
The shutdown has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors to stay home or work without pay.
The stand off will likely last until Democrats take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3.