Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate Floor this morning to criticize President Trump and his negotiating style, citing the president’s backing off from promises as one of the reasons the government has shut down. “Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” the Democratic Leader said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer holds a news conference to talk about efforts to end the government shutdown.
Senator Schumer recounted some of the negotiations that have taken place between he and the president over immigration over the past couple of months. When the president first ended the DACA program in September, he along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi received assurances from the president that he would be open to finding a permanent solution in exchange for funding a border wall. Schumer said President Trump backed away from that initial proposal after pressure from anti-immigration voices from the hard right criticized him harshly.
Two weeks ago, the president had a meeting at the White House with congressional leaders. He said he would sign what Congress would come up with, Schumer said. He said the president was thrilled when he heard about the contours of the deal a bipartisan “gang of six” came up with. But when Senators Graham and Durbin, two of the senators, arrived at the White House to finalize, the meeting, “devolved into one of the most infamous meetings of his presidency.” It was at this meeting that President allegedly made disparaging remarks about countries certain immigrants to the U.S. come from.
On Friday, Schumer said, he met with the president privately. He said he offered to fund the border wall, the president’s request, as well as fund the military to the highest levels in history, above even the president’s requests, in exchange for a DACA fix. At the conclusion of the meeting, Schumer says it was agreed that they would try for a short-term CR that would keep everybody at the negotiating table for a few more days. The president even suggested getting a deal done by Tuesday night, Schumer said. But hours later the president called him with an entirely new set of demands, that Schumer couldn’t agree to but seemed aimed at appeasing conservative voices.
The president, Schumer said, is impossible to strike a deal with because he can’t stick to the terms. The president and congressional leaders in Washington, he said, are like Abbot and Costello, each instructing him to figure things out with the other.
Democrats want a permanent solution to the DACA program included in any spending bill. Republicans have said they will not negotiate the program while the government is shut down. The president cancelled a weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago to attempt to find a solution to the problem. No new meetings between the White House or congressional leaders have been planned.