Speaking at a campaign rally on Monday, President Donald Trump told his supporters that regardless of the deal that comes out of negotiations with Congress, he has plans to build his coveted wall along the southern U.S. border, with or without Congress being on board.
According to the Hill, while Trump was speaking at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas, which is situated along the Rio Grande river just across the border from Mexico, he told supporters he plans to construct the “big, beautiful” wall he promised on the campaign trail leading up to the 2016 election.
“Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said.
The president’s comments came shortly after negotiators in Congress and the White House had reached a funding agreement in principle to avoid another government shutdown ahead of a Friday deadline. The deal would reportedly include some money for some kind of barriers along the border. One source on the congressional side reportedly said that the tentative deal will include $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new physical barriers along the Rio Grande, but that amount is still a long way off from Trump’s original demand of nearly $6 billion.
Another point of contention among the negotiating parties is a demand by the Democrats to reduce the number of beds in detention facilities used to house people who are apprehended while staying illegally in the U.S. or attempting to cross into the country. Democrats appear to have budged on how severely to reduce the number of detention center beds that will be available, but the final number appears to be well short of the 52,000 sought by the White House.
“If we cut detention space, we are cutting loose dangerous criminals into our countries,” Trump said. “I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of criminals into this country.”
Trump told his assembled supporters that “progress was being made” in the talks. However, the president has already drawn the opprobrium of prominent right-wing figures even before this new deal is finished.
During a Fox News live broadcast of the rally, host Sean Hannity called the proposed new accord “a garbage compromise” and warned that Republicans who support it could find themselves in trouble on the 2020 campaign trail.
Of course, it was a criticism of Trump for not demanding money for the wall in an earlier spending agreement that came from Hannity, columnist Ann Coulter, and other hard-right talking heads that many say precipitated the previous shutdown, which lasted 35 days.
For his part, Trump seemed proud of the last shutdown, despite it tanking his poll numbers.
“If we didn’t do that shutdown we would not have been able to show this country, these politicians, the world, what the hell is happening with the border,” he said. “That was a very important thing we did.”