President Donald Trump issued a stern warning on Twitter Thursday morning, notifying Congress that he will not accept a budget bill that does not fund the border wall, and signaling his intent to veto a continuing resolution designed to put off an immigration battle until at least next February.
“When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries – but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!” Trump tweeted.
“I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security,” he continued, referring to Democrats.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Congress managed to settle on a short-term “stop-gap” measure that would fund most government agencies through early February, when Congress is back in session full-time and not on a holiday deadline. That measure, though, did not include any funding for the border wall, and so far, only around $1.6 billion has been allocated for President Trump’s signature anti-immigration measure — enough to repair and rebuild only around 33 miles of border fence.
By Wednesday evening, Trump’s base — and, in particularly, pro-Trump pundits — were loudly voicing their concerns over the lack of border wall funding, the Associated Press reports, “with some aggressively lobbying the president against signing a short-term deal with no wall dollars.”
The problem, critics say, is that if a border wall deal isn’t struck now, it may have no chance of passing in the next Congress when Democrats control the House. If the President caves to a Congressional compromise, he may not be in a position to bargain for the wall again until his own re-election campaign in 2020. At that point, his top campaign promise — the border wall — could read as his top presidential failure.
And that puts Trump in a precarious position going up against attacks from at least 30 Democratic contenders and potentially several Republican insurgents, all seeking the presidential nomination.
The White House is clearly struggling with the issue. Initially, in a meeting with Congressional Democrats, Trump threatened to take full responsibility for any government shutdown that resulted from a disagreement over border wall funding. Earlier this week, though, the White House, through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, softened their position, saying they’d be willing to negotiate on the budget if Congress was willing to find some of the border wall funding elsewhere.
Now, the White House seems to be back to its original position.
The decision has sent Republicans scrambling. Sure they had a viable, if short-term, solution to the budget fight, the GOP had planned a press conference for Thursday afternoon, ostensibly to tout their success before leaving for the Christmas holiday. That press conference is now canceled as leadership regroups.
Meanwhile, Trump’s supporters have taken measures into their own hands, pledging at least $3 million to a “build the wall” GoFundMe.