Ahead of a planned White House meeting with the top Democrats from the House and Senate, President Trump on Tuesday warned that “the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall” if Congress balks.
In a blitz of posts on Twitter, Trump said Democrats don’t want the wall because they prefer “open Borders for anyone to come in.” And he said huge sections of the barrier have already been built or renovated, which kept thousands of refugees from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent days.
“Despite the large Caravans that WERE forming and heading to our Country, people have not been able to get through our newly built Walls, makeshift Walls & Fences, or Border Patrol Officers & Military. They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries…….” he wrote.
Trump’s strong stance comes on a day when he’ll meet with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, expected to become the new Speaker of the House when Democrats take over next year, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, minority leader in the Senate. Trump pointed out that they both voted for stronger border measures in 2006, when George W. Bush was president.
“…..I look forward to my meeting with Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built…” he wrote on Twitter.
And he warned that he’ll have the military build the barrier if Pelosi and Schumer reject his plan.
“….People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!”
For their part, Pelosi and Schumer remained divisive, preemptively blaming Republicans for a government shutdown.
“Republicans still control the House, the Senate and the White House, and they have the power to keep government open,” they said in a joint statement. “Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown,” the Democrats said, adding that Trump “knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”
In his meeting with the two Democratic leaders, Trump will discuss the federal spending package, with funding for the border wall a key topic. Trump wants $5 billion to build the wall, while Democrats are offering $1.3 billion for a broader border security package.
Top Democrats have said Trump cannot simply order the military to build the barrier, saying their federal money was not allocated for that purpose. But Trump said because the issue can be deemed “national security,” he has the power as president to do what is necessary.