WH On GOP Lawmakers: ‘They’re Not Paying Attention’ To Trump’s Demands

on January 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Republicans who don’t know what kind of funding bill President Donald Trump would be willing to sign simply aren’t paying attention.

“The President has been very clear, George, on exactly what he wants,” Sanders told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Stephanopoulos had asked if Trump would support a guaranteed vote on DACA — the Obama era protection offered to qualified young undocumented people that Trump ended on Sept. 5 — in exchange for a government funding bill.

Sanders didn’t answer the question directly, saying only that “[f]irst and foremost, we have to reopen our government,” and “[a]s soon as that is done, we’re more than happy to negotiate on responsible immigration reform.”

She added: “He wants to make a deal on DACA, so the fact that Democrats are trying to pretend as if that’s something that we haven’t already put on the table is just disingenuous, and frankly it’s a little bit ridiculous of Chuck Schumer.”

Stephanopoulos interjected. It’s not just Democrats saying they don’t know what Trump wants, he said: so have Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), among others.

“Then I think maybe sometimes they’re not paying attention,” Sanders replied. “Look, the President has laid out what his priorities are and what his principles are.”

She pointed to the partially televised, bipartisan, bicameral meeting in which Trump said “I’ll take the heat” and sign whatever legislation the lawmakers were able to agree on.

After that meeting, the White House listed four areas for negotiation: a deal on DACA, funding for border security including Trump’s promised border wall, an end to family-based migration (the White House has calls it “chain migration”), and an end to the diversity immigrant visa program.

Sanders took another jab: “I don’t know what’s confusing about that,” she said. “I know that sometimes members like Sen. Schumer need a little help and guidance getting through big policy negotiations like that. But the President has laid out what he wants, and if they need help understand it, we’d be happy to send some people over there to explain it to them.”

“Do you really want to be questioning Sen. Schumer’s knowledge of this legislation?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Look, if he’s unclear about what the President has laid out, then possibly,” Sanders replied. “I think frankly, and sadly, that Sen. Schumer is playing games.”

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