President Donald Trump wants everyone to know he is not backing down from the promise of forcing Mexico to pay for the border wall that was a big part of his campaign platform. But it seems he has now realized that getting another country to pay for something they decidedly don’t want is a bit complicated. “The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2017
That view, the commander in chief insisted, is short-sighted because Americans won’t have to pay for it in the long run. “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall,” Trump wrote in a tweet that raises more questions than it answers.
Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2017
Whether the wall will be funded is key to the current debate over the budget that could very well lead to a government shutdown. Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Friday and the White House seems to be playing hardball with senior administration officials raising questions about about whether Trump would accept legislation that funds the government without paying for the wall.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, for example, told CNN that he believed Trump would be “insistent” that a spending bill include cash for the wall. "Well, Dana, I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall, so I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure, but I will suspect he'll be insistent on the funding," Kelly said.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, took a bit more of a conciliatory approach saying, “We don’t know yet,” when asked whether Trump would sign a bill without funding for the wall. Trump pretty much espoused that message in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday. “I don't know yet,” Trump said when he was asked about a bill without funding for the wall. “People want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall. My base really wants it.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also didn’t risk saying whether the president would sign a spending bill without funding for wall. Regardless though, Sessions expressed confidence that the wall would be funded “one way or another.” Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Sessions seemed to suggest there are ways around the spending bill. "There are a lot of ways we can find money to help pay for this.” Sessions also said that he didn’t think Democrats would shut down the government over the wall.
Democrats, however, made clear they’re staunchly against the wall and won’t be budging. “The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise, and when the president says ‘well I promised a wall during my campaign,’ I don’t think he said he was going to pass billions of dollars of cost of the wall on to the taxpayer,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The president, I think, talking about this wall, is expressing a sign of weakness. He's saying, 'I can't control our borders. I have to build a wall'.”