Doug Jones: Trump the ‘biggest problem’ in border security negotiations
With a fresh round of border security and immigration policy negotiations set to heat up after the partial government shutdown ended on Friday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is now accusing President Donald Trump of moving the goal posts and not negotiating in “good faith.”
In an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday evening, Jones said he has confidence in congressional leaders to reach a compromise, but that “the biggest problem is the president.”
This came after Trump earlier in the day told The Wall Street Journal that, in his opinion, there is “less than [a] 50-50” percent chance that congressional negotiators would reach a deal.
“I am absolutely confident my colleagues can strike a deal,” Jones said on MSNBC. “I think the biggest problem is the president. He has his tendency to walk back what he says and move, as you’ve heard tonight, move the goal post.”
The junior senator from Alabama added, “So, I think you know, my colleagues in the Senate and in the House can strike a deal — this may take a little longer than three weeks, but if they’re making progress I think we can do something to extend that. I have absolute confidence. I mean, we did this deal. We had deals struck back in the summer, especially in the Senate where Senator Shelby, Senator Leahy, did an incredible job of moving our appropriations process forward. And I think they can do it again.”
— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) January 28, 2019
This came after Jones on Saturday tweeted, “Mr. President you want people to have good faith dialog, but good faith is a two way street.”
In a speech on the Senate floor Friday, Jones emphasized, “[W]e don’t have to make this America great again – we are great. And that’s why [immigrants] are coming here.”
The bill Trump signed on Friday evening funds the formerly shut down parts of the government until February 15. If congressional negotiators do not reach a deal by then that includes enough funding for Trump’s border wall package, the president could invoke a national emergency to provide the funding or shut down parts of the government again.
However, while Jones is expressing confidence in them, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have made crystal clear that they are still dug in entirely against a physical barrier on the southern border. In contrast, Trump has signaled being open to concessions on immigration policy, including relief for beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“Have I not been clear on the wall?” Pelosi told reporters Friday when one asked if Democrats would continue to object to wall funding in the upcoming negotiations. “I’ve been very clear.”
According to Roll Call, Schumer was even more direct, saying, “Democrats are against the wall.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn