After Democratic leaders Wednesday night announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with President Donald Trump to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s protections through legislation, Trump pushed back on that claim in a series of tweets early Thursday morning.
Trump dined with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the White House on Wednesday night, where the leaders discussed several issues, including DACA. After the dinner, Schumer and Pelosi released a joint statement claiming they agreed with Trump to move forward with a bill to restore DACA’s protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors.
“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. 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,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly disputed the Democrats’ claim that Trump agreed that funding for the border wall would not need to be included in a DACA bill.
Matt House, Schumer’s spokesman, then pushed back on Sanders’ tweet, claiming that Trump told Democratic leaders Wednesday night he would not push for border wall funding to be included in a DACA bill.
The White House has been signaling that it will not necessarily demand Congress fund the border wall in the same bill restoring DACA protections. During a Tuesday breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, indicated that border wall funding was not a hard demand for a bill enacting DACA protections.
In his tweets Thursday morning, Trump did not definitively say that funding for the wall would have to be included in a DACA bill. He only mentioned the need for border security measures. He also said that his administration has already begun work on a wall, referring to restoration work on existing barriers and defended his support for helping undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.
Trump also reportedly told lawmakers earlier on Wednesday that he would not need border wall funding to be included in a bill restoring DACA.
“He said, the wall doesn’t have to be necessary,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) told reporters Wednesday following a meeting between Trump and House members from both parties, according to the Washington Post. “He said we’re going to add [wall funding] somewhere else.”
“He said, ‘DACA, we’re going to do it early. We’re going to do some kind of border security.’ He brought up the wall. He said that doesn’t have to be on this DACA bill,” Cuellar added, per the Washington Post.
Following Democrats’ statement on the dinner, Trump faced some pushback from Republicans for discussing the issue with Democrats.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted at Trump Thursday morning indicating he was frustrated that Trump “undercut” his committee to reach a deal with Democrats.
Immigration hardliner Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also let Trump know on Twitter that he was unhappy with reports on the agreement between Democrats and the President.