A far from standard dinner took place at the White House on Wednesday night that featured Chinese food, chocolate pie, President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
The dinner was a follow-up to a meeting held last week with President Trump, Republican congressional leaders Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Schumer and Pelosi. McConnell and Ryan were absent from the White House dinner.
The dinner included conversation on possible solutions for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that could protect nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation after the Trump administration announced Congress has six months to pass legislation before the program is terminated. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pelosi and Schumer insisted there was an agreement on legislation that would offer citizenship to the immigrants.
Talk about funding for the controversial border wall between Mexico and the United States took place as well but it is unclear when construction will take place or if the wall will be a prerequisite for an agreement on DACA.
In a joint statement released after the White House dinner, Schumer and Pelosi stated, “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
President Trump and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to Twitter after the Democratic leaders’ announcement to refute the claims. Sanders tweeted, “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.” Trump followed with a tweet that stated, “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.”
Trump also reiterated his wall-promise while giving a speech in Florida during his post Hurricane Irma tour.
”We are not looking at citizenship. We are not looking at amnesty. We are looking at allowing people to stay here. We are working with everybody…If we don’t have the wall, we are doing nothing,” said Trump.
Though not much clarity for the public was reached, if the deal ensues with Pelosi and Schumer, this will be the second major pact with Democratic leaders this month after the agreement on the debt ceiling and government spending. That being said, no deal will be able to be secured unless enough Republican votes are secured. Republican support may be hard to reach after many of Trump’s followers were perplexed when hearing that a potential DACA plan had been formed with the aid of Democrats.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, tweeted that if reports were validated then the “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”
A number of Republicans have been concerned about Trump’s recent bipartisan appearance as he struggles to pass major legislation. One of his key campaign promises was to end DACA; just last week, Trump’s anti-immigration national policy adviser, Stephen Miller, said the administration would never allow the replacement legislation know as the Dream Act to pass, according to the New York Times. Now, after a slew of negative headlines towards the termination of DACA, Trump is drifting back towards preserving the program.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own– brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
For now, citizens and politicians alike hang in the balance until clarity is reached with a set-in-stone decision.