President Donald Trump said Monday that he will not be accepting a suggestion from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to reopen the federal government on a short-term basis before declaring a national emergency.
During an appearance Sunday on “Fox News Sunday,” Graham said that he supported Trump but was hoping that the government could reopen for a few weeks.
“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off, see if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers,” Graham said. “That’s my recommendation.”
Graham said he and Trump see things taking place in a different order.
“I tried to see if we could open up the government for a limited period of time to negotiate a deal and the president says, let’s make a deal, then open up the government,” he said.
Trump spoke to reporters Monday outside the White House and said he will not follow Graham’s advice.
“That was a suggestion that Lindsey made but I did reject it, yes. I’m not interested. … I want to get it solved. I don’t want to just delay it. I want to get it solved,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump was asked if a deal is near to reopen the government, which has been partially shut down because congressional Democrats will not support Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion to fund a border wall.
“I don’t know if we’re close on a deal,” Trump said. “This should be the easiest deal that I’ve ever seen.”
“We’re talking about border security. Who could be against it? We’re talking about … human traffickers tying up women, putting tape on their mouths, and pouring into our country. We can’t have that. We can’t have that. We have drugs, we have criminals, and we have gangs,” he said.
“Democrats don’t want to do anything about it. They say, ‘Oh, it’s immoral, but it wasn’t immoral three years ago, five years ago, six years ago, and 10 years ago when they all raised their hands to approve a wall. All of a sudden it’s immoral. It’s immoral because one reason, because they know they’re going to lose in the 2020 election. That’s the only reason to them it’s immoral.”
Trump said that although he can declare a national emergency to build the wall, that is not his preferred option.
“I’m not looking to call a national emergency. This is so simple. You shouldn’t have to,” he said. “Now, I have the absolute legal right to call it, but I’m not looking to do that because this is too simple. The Democrats should say, ‘We want border security. We have to build a wall otherwise you can’t have border security.’ And we should get on with our lives.”
“The Democrats are stopping us and they’re stopping a lot of great people from getting paid. All they have to do is say, ‘We want border security.’ That automatically means a wall or a barrier,” Trump said.
Trump later spoke to the Farm Bureau convention in New Orleans about the need for border security, according to a media pool report.
“Women and children are being ruthlessly exploited at our southern border by vicious coyotes and human traffickers,” Trump said. “We’ll get that stopped. We’re going to have a wall, we’re going to have a barrier. It’s common sense.”
Trump said American cannot stop drug smuggling “if we’re going to play politics.”
“This is the defense of our nation. When it comes to keeping the American people safe, I will never, ever back down. I didn’t need this fight.”
Trump said his goal is to weed out those who should not enter the U.S.
“When we have proper security, people aren’t going to come — except for the people we want to come, because we want to take people in to help our farmers … because you need these people. We’re keeping the wrong ones out, OK?” Trump said.
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