Mexico wall demands eased as spending talks advance

U.S. President Donald Trump stepped back Monday from demanding a down payment for his border wall in must-pass spending legislation, potentially removing a major obstacle to a bipartisan deal just days ahead of a government shutdown deadline.

"I support additional border security funding", said Senator Lindsey Graham, a critic of Mr Trump who dined with the president on Monday at the White House. "In case anyone has any questions, the wall's going to get built, and it's going to stop drugs and a lot of people from coming in that shouldn't be here".

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said Republican negotiators were following the lead of Mr Trump, who signalled on Monday evening that he would not insist on one billion dollar-worth (£800 million) of wall funding now as an addition to the one trillion dollar-plus (£800 billion) spending bill.

"The wall is going to get built", he said at the White House on Tuesday.

Following the Post and AP reports, Trump called the outlets "fake media" and promised that his "position on the WALL" has not changed. "I think it's become symbolic of better border security".

Although Republicans control both the House and the Senate, "most bills, including spending bills, take 60 votes in the Senate", Mulvaney noted, which means the 52 Senate Republicans would need eight Democrats to join them in passing a bill to fund the government through September. More electronic surveillance is a good bet, as is extension of the fence already built along 650 miles of border. "He wants it done as soon as we can do it", Spicer said. However, Limbaugh warned that if Trump forgoes his plan to risk a government shutdown for his proposed border wall, then Democrats "will have just learned that this threat works on Trump too, not just all the other Republicans".

"Eight years from now (assuming Trump is re-elected in 2020), the next president will have that wall in place to make sure that (illegal immigration) doesn't continue". He said the wall is going to get built and his administration is setting record numbers in terms of stopping people and drugs from coming in the United States which has gone down by 73-74 percent.

Yet the president was adamant that his concession on the spending bill did not signal that he was any less committed to building the wall, a signature campaign promise.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Mr Trump's "willingness to compromise on wall funding is a surprise to Democrats".

The border wall was one of Trump's signature election pledges previous year, with the Republican touting it as best way to stop illegal immigrants and drugs from coming into the country.

By using it to threaten a government shutdown, Trump is heightening the wall between himself and his won congressional majority.

  • Zachary Reyes