President Trump announced on Tuesday that, despite backing down on a demand to secure funding for his US-Mexico border wall, it will in fact get built. The wall was a major part of Trump’s campaign promises since he announced his candidacy in 2015, which makes his move to drop demands for a spending measure to be passed by Friday all the more surprising.
The move to back down on spending and funding demands has come as Trump attempts to avoid a government shutdown. This also means that the biggest obstacle in the way of passing the spending bill has been removed, meaning it will likely be passed before the end of the week. The President, however, urged his supporters and the American people that he has not given up on the wall.
In a Tweet, Trump told his supporters to not believe what the “fake media” tells them, and that he has not changed his position on the wall. He explained that the wall will still be built, and that it will help stop human trafficking and the drug trade.
During a Monday evening White House conference, Trump told conservative reporters that he might accept a spending bill that provided funding for border security, but which did not include funds for the construction of a full border wall. The spending legislation expected to be passed will see the government through to the end of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30th. During the private meeting, Trump asked journalists to hand in their cell phones before entering to ensure that no audio was captured.
Jonathan Easley of The Hill spoke to some of the 30 reporters who attended the conference – all of who came from conservative outlets like Breitbart, Newsmax and the Daily Caller – and learned that Trump had made the journalists “fight for scraps,” according to an anonymous reporter.
According to Kelly Anne Conway, counselor to the President, “Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him…But we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year. And in the interim, you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security.”
Democrats naturally welcomed Trump’s decision not to hold out and demand the funding this week. Senator Chuck Schumer, who represents New York, announced on the Senate floor that Trump’s decision would stop any needless fight over what he called a “poison pill” which both parties don’t support.
Trump famously promised that Mexico would pay for the border wall, but Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, put rumors to rest that the President had given up on the idea. Spicer said that Trump is still determined to make Mexico pay for the wall, but to begin construction, he would first seek the funding from the U.S. tax payers, and he will later pursue ways of getting the bordering country to pay.