A source with knowledge of the talks between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders said the President would not accept the democratic offer to end the government shutdown because doing so would make him “look foolish.”
The two sides remain at odds over funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall, with neither willing to concede ground. Although the House will hold a series of votes after they take control on Thursday to reopen the government, the President will most likely decline to sign anything approved by the Democratic-controlled chamber.
“Our question to the President and to the Republicans is, ‘Why don’t you accept what you have already done to open up government’?” asked Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to be the next House speaker, referring to a bipartisan, Senate-passed funding measure that Trump had rejected earlier.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted that he had asked the President why the government remains shut down while the two sides work to resolve their differences. “I asked him directly … He could not give a good answer,” Schumer said.
The source confirmed that Schumer repeatedly asked President Trump why he would not accept their plan to pass measures to temporarily fund the government, including the Department of Homeland Security. In the end, Trump said that he “would look foolish if I did that.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who also attended the meeting, said the situation at the border was at a level of a “crisis” rather than a “status quo situation.”
“We are in a crisis situation. Status quo funding is not enough,” she said, according to an official. Her comments were aimed at the Democratic leaders in attendance.
The source further said that although the meeting went smoothly, neither side showed signs of moving. Lawmakers later said there was no breakthrough.
“I don’t think any particular progress was made today, but we talked about all aspects of it and it was a civil discussion. We are hopeful that somehow in the coming days or weeks we will be able to reach an agreement,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.
Lawmakers are to meet with the President on Friday to continue their discussion.