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White House backing down on border wall as a government shutdown looms



After tough talk from the president and top administration officials, the White House is seemingly backing down on its border wall demands as the government is on the brink of a partial shutdown.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said, “At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.”

Last week, Trump said he would be “proud” to shut down the government if Democrats did not acquiesce to his demands for $5 billion to go toward building the wall along the US-Mexico border.

Read more: Trump gets into raucous, on-camera Oval Office debate with Schumer and Pelosi and says he’d be ‘proud’ to shut down the government

In a heated Oval Office exchange with House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals, and people that have lots of problems, and drugs pouring into our country.”

He added, “So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it — the last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting it down. And I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

On Sunday, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller doubled down on Trump’s threat to shut down the government.

“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” Miller said in an interview with CBS.

When asked if that potentially meant forcing a partial government shut down, Miller said, “If it comes to it, absolutely.”

But Sanders on Tuesday said the administration has “other ways that we can get to that $5 billion,” marking a dramatic reversal in tone from the White House on the matter.

“There are certainly a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use, that we can couple with money that would be given through congressional appropriations that would help us get to that $5 billion that the president needs in order to protect our border,” Sanders said.

Democrats pledged to give Trump $1.3 billion toward border fencing, but have refused to give into the president’s call for $5 billion. Several government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, will see their funding run out on Friday if the president and Congress don’t act.

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