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Trump Lashes Out After Schumer Withdraws Offer On Border Wall

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speaks to reporters following a policy luncheon Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harnik
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speaks to reporters following a policy luncheon Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

In a late night tweet Tuesday, President Trump ratcheted up taunts aimed at Democrats over the short-lived government shutdown, reiterating his insistence that there can be no fix on DACA without funding for his border wall.

"Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA," the president tweeted, referring to what he earlier described as how the Democrats "caved" on the shutdown.

On Monday, the Senate passed a stopgap funding bill that keeps the government open until Feb. 8. Democrats joined in the 81-18 vote, agreeing to support the measure in exchange for assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to work on a deal to grant legal status to roughly 700,000 immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Tuesday's tweet came after Schumer, the Senate minority leader, informed the White House that he was withdrawing an offer made during the heat of funding negotiations. In it, he agreed to support more than $1.6 billion for construction of the wall along the southern border with Mexico. But, as Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, that offer, made Friday, was contingent on striking a more comprehensive deal that included DACA — a deal that has not materialized.

"The thought was that we could come to an agreement that afternoon, the president would announce his support, and the Senate and the House would get it done and it would be on the president's desk," Schumer said Tuesday, according to Politico.

"He didn't do that. So we're going to have to start on a new basis, and so the wall offer is off the table," he said.

Last week, White House chief of staff John Kelly told a caucus of Hispanic lawmakers that he had convinced the president that the long-promised border wall was unnecessary. As a candidate, Kelly said, Trump was not "fully informed" of the border situation when he pledged to build the wall and since then, the president's views on the subject had "evolved."

The chief of staff reiterated those same points during an interview on Fox News.

However, hours after the Kelly's remarks, the president sent out a tweet that undercut his chief of staff. Trump said: "The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it."

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to quash speculation, raised in a Vanity Fair article, that the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, was scouting a replacement for Kelly. Appearing on Fox & Friends, she said the president and Kelly "both plan on being here for the long haul and doing it together."

Sanders' comments came after Trump tweeted renewed praise for his chief of staff, who he said, "is doing a fantastic job."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.