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Trump defends his border plan even as others look for a deal

President Trump spoke at the White House on Saturday
President Trump spoke at the White House on Saturday(AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his proposal to end the partial government shutdown, using his Twitter account to attack Speaker Nancy Pelosi for turning down the offer, even as Vice President Mike Pence appeared to open the door to negotiations over the plan.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Pence said that Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, planned to bring the president’s proposal to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday, adding that Trump had “set the table for a deal.”

But when Chris Wallace, the program’s host, asked Pence if the president’s proposal was a final offer, Pence hedged, saying, “There’s a legislative process that is going to begin on Tuesday in the United States Senate” — a possible acknowledgment that the proposal might be amended on the Senate floor.

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“Does that mean that you’re willing to negotiate from what the president said, or is that the final offer?” Wallace asked again. Pence replied, “Well, of course. The legislative process is a negotiation.”

But on Twitter, Trump seemed to be holding fast as he took aim at Pelosi and pushed back against conservative critics who have described the plan as amnesty for unauthorized immigrants.

“Nancy Pelosi and some of the Democrats turned down my offer yesterday before I even got up to speak,” Trump wrote, in one of a string of morning tweets. “They don’t see crime & drugs, they only see 2020 — which they are not going to win. Best economy! They should do the right thing for the Country & allow people to go back to work.”

With public opinion turning against him, Trump offered a deal Saturday, saying he would extend temporary protections for some unauthorized immigrants if Democrats gave him $5.7 billion for the wall he wants to build along the southern border.

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But Democrats have said the plan is a nonstarter because it does not offer a pathway to citizenship for the young immigrants known as Dreamers, who were brought to the country illegally as children, and offers only three years of protection from deportation. Democrats are demanding that the president reopen the government before any negotiations on border security.

“Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat,” Trump also wrote. “She is so petrified of the ‘lefties’ in her party that she has lost control...And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!”

And to his conservative critics, Trump wrote: “No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3 year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else. Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally — but be careful Nancy!”