President Trump has turned to a pair of unusual allies in his continuing effort to sell recalcitrant Democrats on the merits of building a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president sent out a few posts on Twitter on Sunday citing former president Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing their own support for border security.
Trump quoted Obama as saying in 2005, "We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked." And he noted that in 2015, Clinton said, "I voted, when I was a Senator, to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in."
Trump also said that if a barrier is built, "99% of our illegal Border crossings will end, crime in our Country will go way down and we will save billions of dollars a year! A properly planned and constructed Wall will pay for itself many times a year!"
Senate Democrats refused to support a House-passed bill to set aside $5.6 billion for border security, which Trump promised throughout his presidential campaign. That refusal forced the federal government to partially shut down on December 22, and Democrats vow they will not fund the wall as part of a compromise to reopen the government.
Vice President Mike Pence, along with other White House negotiators, are set to meet again with congressional members on Monday to continue discussions.
Trump on Sunday said, “We have to build the wall or we have to build a barrier. It’s a very important battle to win.”
In a Saturday post on Twitter, Trump also said, "We are working hard at the Border, but we need a WALL! In 2018, 1.7 million pounds of narcotics seized, 17,000 adults arrested with criminal records, and 6000 gang members, including MS-13, apprehended. A big Human Trafficking problem."
In an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump "was willing to agree, and he mentioned this at the Rose Garden press conference, to take a concrete wall off the table."
"Again, what's driving this is the president's desire to change the conditions at the border," Mulvaney said. "And if he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See? He's not building a wall anymore,' that should help us move in the right direction."