President Donald Trump will meet with House Republican lawmakers at noon Thursday to discuss the how to avert a government shutdown amid a dispute over border wall funding.
“The President is having a meeting with Republican House members at noon today,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “At this moment, the President does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall. The President is continuing to weigh his options.”
Trump remained ambiguous Thursday on whether he will sign a measure temporarily funding the government in order to avoid a year-end shutdown, as he lamented a lack of funding for his desired border wall.
A senior White House official told CNN Friday it’s possible that Trump will decide not to back down on the wall fight as a result of growing pressure from the Freedom Caucus and conservatives.
The official said it’s still unclear what Trump will do, a similar situation to the omnibus signing last March.
“If Congress can’t give the President border wall funding now with Republicans in charge we certainly don’t stand a chance with (House Democratic Leader Nancy) Pelosi and the Dems taking over the House next year,” the official said.
Trump himself tweeted Thursday: “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!”
The President has sent mixed signals for the past week on whether he would sign the legislation that would stave off a shutdown of some key federal agencies, set to expire at midnight on Friday, just days before Christmas.
“The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country. What they are just beginning to realize is that I will not sign any of their legislation, including infrastructure, unless it has perfect Border Security. U.S.A. WINS!” Trump tweeted Thursday, seeming to indicate he would pick up the border wall fight next year after Democrats take control of the House.
While the legislation, which passed the Senate Wednesday, is expected to pass the House before the end of the week, many conservatives are calling on the President to oppose the legislation and Trump is listening. But a House Republican leadership news conference was delayed Thursday morning as lawmakers debated how to proceed, lending even more uncertainty to how the issue would get resolved.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, described the state of play “very fluid right now.”
He said Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke Thursday morning, with Ryan stepping out of the GOP conference meeting to take the call and not returning.
“I haven’t heard anything about the conversation the President had with Speaker Ryan except that he had one,” Meadows told CNN’s Ryan Nobles.
The current debate comes a week after the President said he’d be “proud” to shut down the government over the border wall funding.