Trump strikes a slightly softer tone on shutdown fight over border wall: 'Hopefully it will all come together'

  • "Any measure that funds the government must include border security," Trump said at a White House farm bill-signing event. "We have no choice."
  • The president's remarks struck a softer note than the one his press secretary adopted in a statement earlier in the day, when she announced that Trump would not sign the short-term deal that the Senate had already passed.
  • Republicans scrambled to write a new version, which contains an additional $5.7 billion in appropriations for border security over the next five years, $700 million more than Trump has so far demanded.
President Donald J. Trump speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
President Donald J. Trump speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his insistence that any funding to prevent an imminent government shutdown must be accompanied by additional funding for border security.

"Any measure that funds the government must include border security," Trump said at a White House farm bill-signing event. "We have no choice."

The president said he looked forward to signing "a bill that fulfills our fundamental duty to the American people" to protect the nation's borders, but he did not put a specific sum on the amount he would require in order to sign a spending bill to keep the government open.

Trump said negotiations with House and Senate Republicans would continue to focus on more money for the border. "We'll be working on that, and we'll see what we can do. Hopefully that will all come together," he said.

The president's remarks struck a softer note than the one his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, adopted in a statement earlier in the day Thursday, when she announced that Trump would not sign the short-term deal that the Senate had already passed.

This sent Republicans scrambling to create a new spending bill that met his demands.

Moments after Trump began speaking at the White House, House Republicans on Capitol Hill introduced a new version of a short-term spending bill to fund the government that the Senate had passed on Wednesday night.

The new version contained an additional $5.7 billion in appropriations for border security over the next five years, $700 million more than Trump has so far demanded.

Trump's desire for border wall funding leaves the path forward for Congress unclear. As House Republicans tried to head off conservative members' rebellion against the spending bill earlier Thursday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer flatly said Democrats would not approve money for the barrier.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to shut down the government if Congress does not pass money for the wall, a key campaign proposal that he claimed Mexico would fund. Last week, the president said he would be "proud" to close parts of the government if lawmakers did not approve funding for the barrier.

House GOP leaders hoped to pass the short-term spending bill and push the next immigration fight to February, when Democrats will control the House and Pelosi will likely be speaker. But they could not assure skeptical caucus members that Trump would sign the bill into law.