President Donald Trump sent a letter to lawmakers of both parties demanding a border wall separating the U.S. and Mexico, calling it “absolutely critical.” The letter was sent Friday before Congressional leaders meet to discuss ways to end the government shutdown.
Then he claimed Democratic opposition to the wall is hypocritical, TalkingPointsMemo reports:
“Absolutely critical to border security and national security is a wall or physical barrier that prevents entry in the first place,” Trump wrote. “Members of both parties — including then-Senators Obama and Clinton, current Senator Schumer, and many other members of the House and Senate — all voted for a hard, physical barrier.”
But actually, what Clinton, Obama and others voted on was The Secure Fence Act of 2006. That act was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. It authorized roughly 700 miles along some stretches of land between the U.S.-Mexico border, Politifact reports.
And in 2006, at least some Democrats who favored looser immigration laws viewed it as the lesser of two evils. That’s according to a report by The Boston Globe that detailed the legislative process at the time. Because when this act was being debated, the House passed legislation that would turn all undocumented immigrants into felons”
“It didn’t have anywhere near the gravity of harm,” said Angela Kelley, who was the 2006 legislative director of the National Immigration Forum, in an interview with The Boston Globe. “It was hard to vote against it because who is going to vote against a secure fence? And it was benign when compared with what was out there.”
But Trump quite obviously doesn’t think along these lines and appears ready to keep stalling until his demands are met.
In his letter he also writes:
“Walls work. That’s why rich, powerful and successful people build them around their homes. All Americans deserve the same protection. In Israel, it is 99 percent effective.”
His letter also included a copy of the presentation given by Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security. The presentation was cut short after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) intervened to discuss spending negotiations with Trump, The Hill reports.
“Some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so I have instead decided to make the presentation available to all members of Congress,” the president wrote.
Pelosi, Schumer, and Republican leaders are scheduled to resume talks at the White House Friday but chances are pretty slim that the 14-day shutdown will end soon.
And while speaking with reporters White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders warned any GOP Senators hoping for compromise — saying the president isn’t going to back down on the $5 billion price tag for his border wall.
“Look, the president has been willing to negotiate from the beginning but he’s not willing to put our national security and the safety of the American people at risk,” she said. “This is what [Border Patrol agents] say they need in order to protect the citizens in this country and protect our borders. So the president’s not backing down from that.”
And while Trump is refusing to back down on that $5 billion price tag, the Democrats are also saying they don’t plan to provide any funding for his wall.
There’s been plenty of back-and-forth between both sides over the past several days, and that culminated in Trump co-opting the first White House press briefing of the year and appearing with members of the union that supports border and immigration officials who support his border wall.
Pelosi has also steadfastly refused to budge as well.
“How many more times can we say ‘no?'” she said Thursday on NBC News’s Today Show. “Nothing for the wall.”
Obviously, things are going nowhere fast. Stay tuned.
Here’s what Huckabee Sanders had to say in the video below.