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Trump confidants Hannity, Meadows against border security, funding deal



Several of President Donald Trump’s strongest allies and informal advisors are already panning the border security deal reached by the bicameral, bipartisan conference committee on Monday, which could complicate the plan to avoid another government shutdown.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Tuesday morning it is still too early for Trump to know whether or not he would be willing to support the conference committee proposal, which includes $1.4 billion for additional physical barriers along the United States-Mexico border. The proposed barrier funding in the deal is a far cry from the $5.7 billion the White House has demanded.

Read more:Democratic and Republican lawmakers were underwhelmed by Trump’s State of the Union as threat of another government shutdown looms

But some of Trump’s close allies are already dismissing the plan, urging him to chart another course to build his long-desired border wall.

While Trump was delivering a campaign-style speech in El Paso, Texas Monday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity cut into the rally’s live footage during his self-titled show to blast the deal as insufficient.

“By the way, on this new so-called compromise,” he said. “I’m getting details. $1.3 billion? That’s not even a wall, a barrier… Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain—look at this crowd, look at the country.”

Hannity has been informally advising Trump for years, often talking to the president on the phone multiple times per week.

And Fox News’ flagship host has gotten through to Trump as of late, pushing him to stay firm during the shutdown that dragged on for more than a month.

During the partial government shutdown that lasted a record 35 days last month, Trump exercised similar tactics to those used by his allies in the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus by refusing to get on board with any funding proposals until the shutdown reached a breaking point. Trump dug in after he had initially signaled support for a continuing resolution that would have averted the entire shutdown fiasco.

The president eventually agreed to a short-term funding bill, called a continuing resolution, which is slated to expire this Friday.

Read more:Lawmakers are desperate to avoid another government shutdown, but Trump is still a wild card in negotiations with Congress

House Freedom Caucus chairman and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, another close confidant of Trump, dismissed the conference committee proposal as unserious and insufficient.

“This conference agreement is hardly a serious attempt to secure our border or stop the flow of illegal immigration,” Meadows wrote on Twitter Monday night. “It kicks the can down the road yet again, failing to address the critical priorities outlined by Border Patrol Chiefs. Congress is not doing its job.”

“Democrats applaud sending $1.8 billion to Iran under Obama but can’t even find that much to secure America’s border. If this is the best they can do, it’s obvious they have no interest in serious border security,” Meadows added. “At this point it’s clear: POTUS should take executive action.”

Meadows speaks with Trump on a regular basis and reportedly played a pivotal role in the hard line the White House drew during the shutdown.

Still, other lawmakers are optimistic about the border security proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the conference committee’s work during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

“I know I speak for members on both sides of the aisle when I say that we are grateful to our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for their leadership and are eager to see them complete this work,” he said. “As we speak, our colleagues are working hard to produce full legislative text. I look forward to reviewing the full text as soon as possible and hope the Senate can act on this legislation in short order.”

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