Breaking down the back-and-forth on DACA, border wall after the White House dinner


Posted on: September 14th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Rex_Wholster/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — What started out as a congenial bipartisan dinner where President Donald Trump invited the top Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over to the White House has since devolved into a back-and-forth about their statements on immigration and border security.

Since the dinner ended Wednesday night, differing versions of events have been presented about what was and wasn’t discussed over honey sesame crispy beef and chocolate pie.

Here’s a rundown:

Initial White House summary

A White House official told ABC News that Trump “had a constructive working dinner” with the Democratic leaders to “discuss policy and legislative priorities. These topics included tax reform, border security, DACA, infrastructure and trade.”

The three discussed several policies that Congress and Trump will review in the coming months. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy that protects the children of undocumented immigrants referred to as “dreamers” from deportation, was a key topic for all parties going in to the dinner, as Trump weighs whether to discontinue the policy.

“This is a positive step toward the President’s strong commitment to bipartisan solutions for the issues most important to all Americans,” the White House official said.

Democrats release their statement

“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Schumer said in a joint statement. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responds to the Democratic statement

“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” she wrote on Twitter.

While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) September 14, 2017

Schumer’s office responded to Sanders quickly.

“The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement,” Matt House, Schumer’s spokesperson, wrote.

The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement. https://t.co/KD1SdLAnIF

— Matt House (@mattwhouse) September 14, 2017

Trump responds on Twitter and on the South Lawn

“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” he wrote this morning on Twitter.

No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own — brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” he wrote in two tweets.

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017

Am leaving now for Florida to see our GREAT first responders and to thank the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA etc. A real disaster, much work to do!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2017

He later spoke about it on his way to Florida, telling reporters from Marine One that “we’re fairly close, but we have to get massive border security.”

When asked about funding for the wall as part of the deal, the president seemed to echo what the Democrats had said initially about the dinner — that the wall would not be part of a deal on DACA.

“The wall will come later,” the president said. “The wall is going to be built it will be funded a little bit later.”

The president said “92 percent of people agree on DACA” and emphasized that what he’s pushing for in exchange is “very powerful border security.”

“[House majority leader Paul] Ryan and [Senate majority leader Mitch] McConnell agree with us on DACA, we’re very much on board, I spoke to them yes,” Trump later said.

Administration officials reassure Republicans

Sanders spoke to “Fox & Friends” this morning and responded to Schumer and Pelosi’s statement and Trump’s tweets about the dinner last night.

“[Trump] went into last night specifically wanted to talk a lot about tax reform, which they did,” Sanders said.

“Schumer and Pelosi came in wanting to talk a lot about DACA, which they also did. The president has been very clear in what his position is and wants to get a deal done. He wants to do that with DACA but also to include massive border security and interior enforcements. That’s what he tweeted this morning. That was the message he relayed last night,” she said.

“The president’s 100 percent committed to the wall,” Sanders said. “The wall is already going through extensive renovations.”

Another key Trump administration official, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, told MSNBC that Democratic leaders and the president have “the makings of a deal,” but stressed “there’s no done deal.”

Back to the Democrats

Schumer weighed in again this morning, saying that they “reached an understanding on this issue.”

“We have to work out details. We can work together on a border security package with the White House and get DACA on the floor quickly,” he said.

“While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear that we would continue to oppose it,” Schumer said.

“There is still much to be done. We have put meat on the bones of the agreement. Details will matter,” he said. “It was a very, very positive step for the president to commit to DACA protections without insisting on the inclusion of or even a debate about border walls.”

Talking on the tarmac

Moments after landing in Florida, Trump answered more questions about the discussions on DACA and any possible paths to citizenship for Dreamers.

“We’re not looking at citizenship, we’re not looking at amnesty,” the president said. “We’re not talking about amnesty.”

Trump made clear that whether it’s in the budget or some other vehicle, if funding for the wall is not secured, there will be no deal on DACA.

“We’ll only do it if we get extreme security,” the president said. “Ultimately we have to have a wall, if we don’t have a wall, we won’t have anything.”

Back to Pelosi

Pelosi held a brief news conference before heading to Senate voting this morning and appeared to contradict what Trump said.

She said that it was her understanding that Trump agreed to the Dream Act, a 2001 policy on children of undocumented citizens that pre-dated DACA, including an earned path to citizenship.

Trump and Pelosi’s comments came within minutes of one another. Pelosi said that, while she couldn’t respond to every comment or tweet, the Dream Act was the topic on the table after last night’s dinner.

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