Only days later, in a truly weird, reality television-style negotiation with members of Congress, Trump then said he'd sign legislation that included a pathway to citizenship and, in a moment of obvious confusion, even supported a "clean" DACA fix pitched by Senate Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
Republicans' goal is to force Democrats into the uncomfortable position of choosing between funding CHIP and their effort to win legal protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as "dreamers". Negotiations on that measure are proceeding slowly, however.
The proposal, negotiated by key Republican and Democratic lawmakers since late previous year, would address the plight of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. He said he dislikes such temporary measures but is inclined to support this one because time is running out. ThinkProgress reported that only seven Democratic senators have gone on the record and said they would vote against a spending bill without a DACA fix.
Democrats have tied the issues together by threatening to vote against any spending bill that doesn't include a DACA fix. The stopgap measure being discussed by Republican leadership reportedly doesn't address this demographic and would temporarily fund the government for another month, according to Reuters.
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions said September 5 he would rescind the program, Trump urged Congress to pass legislation. A growing number of Senate Democrats see the vote on the funding bill as a leverage point to try and reach a deal on immigration, even if their opposition threatens a shutdown.
"Hopefully Democrats will stop playing politics and start governing and getting their job done", said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday morning that he anticipates the House will pass the funding bill, but it's fate in the Senate is uncertain.
"With no imminent deadline ... there's no reason why Congress should hold government funding hostage over the issue of illegal immigration", McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. But clearly, that's not a good message for Democrats who are hoping to blame the shutdown on Republicans.
The president fired back at Democrats during a trip to Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, arguing they're pushing for a shutdown to distract voters from the GOP's tax cuts. "Democrats seem to be willing to increase military spending".
Those Democrats have dug in since Trump said at a private Oval Office meeting that he wants immigrants from places like overwhelmingly white Norway - and not from Africa. "I didn't hear that word either", said Arkansas Sen.
The White House is privately saying it will hammer all of Congress, not just Democrats-if no agreement is made. "I'm certainly not going to vote to shut the government down".
Temporarily, the "build a wall' president was transformed into a champion of what he called a "bill of love". It was the very kind of deal that the president had said he would sign. They also delayed some taxes from the Affordable Care Act - one on medical devices and another on high-cost, so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans, items they believe it would be tough for those Democrats in swing districts to vote against.
The last-minute confusion over CHIP further complicates spending negotiations that were stalled when Trump rejected a bipartisan Senate immigration plan meant to pave the way for a long-term spending agreement. Lindsey Graham, could move forward - despite Trump's rejection of that deal at a heated meeting last week.
Republican leaders have said they have until March 5 - the final day of Mr. Trump's phaseout of the DACA deportation amnesty that is protecting 690,000 Dreamers. "They know they can't possibly explain to our warfighters and veterans, to our seniors, to our opioid treatment centers, to the millions of vulnerable children and their families who depend on S-CHIP for coverage, or to all the Americans who rely on the federal government for critical services like food inspections and Social Security checks".
- "I've also been hearing directly from our governor in the great state of Alabama and many state representatives who are working diligently to craft a budget on the state level and they are depending on Congress to get this done", said Roby.