What started out as a congenial bipartisan dinner, with President Donald Trump inviting the top Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over to the White House, has since devolved into a back-and-forth about their statements on immigration and border security.
Since the dinner ended Wednesday night, differing versions of events have been presented about what was and wasn’t discussed over honey sesame crispy beef and chocolate pie.
Here’s a rundown:
Initial White House summary
A White House official told ABC News that Trump “had a constructive working dinner” with the Democratic leaders to “discuss policy and legislative priorities. These topics included tax reform, border security, DACA, infrastructure and trade.”
The three discussed several policies that Congress and Trump will review in the coming months. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — an Obama-era policy that defers deportation for unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers — was a key topic for all parties going into the dinner, as Trump weighs whether to discontinue the policy.
“This is a positive step toward the president’s strong commitment to bipartisan solutions for the issues most important to all Americans,” the White House official said.
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What President Trump has said about Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi
Democrats release their statement
“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the president,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer said in a joint statement. “The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responds to the Democratic statement
“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” she wrote on Twitter.
Schumer’s office responded to Sanders quickly.
“The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement,” Matt House, Schumer’s spokesperson, wrote.
Trump responds on Twitter and on the South Lawn
“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” he wrote this morning on Twitter.
“The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built,” he wrote in another tweet.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security,” he wrote in two tweets.
He later spoke about it on his way to Florida to survey damage from Hurricane Irma, telling reporters from Marine One, “We’re fairly close, but we have to get massive border security.”
Asked whether funding for the wall was part of the deal, Trump seemed to echo what the Democrats said: that the wall would not be part of a deal on DACA.
“The wall will come later,” he said. “The wall is going to be built. It will be funded a little bit later.”
Trump said “92 percent of people agree on DACA” and emphasized that what he’s pushing for in exchange is “very powerful border security.”
“[House Speaker Paul] Ryan and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell agree with us on DACA. We’re very much on board. I spoke to them, yes,” Trump later said.
Administration officials reassure Republicans
Sanders spoke to “Fox & Friends” this morning and responded to Schumer and Pelosi’s statement and Trump’s tweets about the dinner last night.
“[Trump] went into last night, specifically wanted to talk a lot about tax reform, which they did,” Sanders said.
“Schumer and Pelosi came in wanting to talk a lot about DACA, which they also did. The president has been very clear in what his position is and wants to get a deal done. He wants to do that with DACA but also to include massive border security and interior enforcements. That’s what he tweeted this morning. That was the message he relayed last night,” Sanders said.
“The president’s 100 percent committed to the wall,” she said. “The wall is already going through extensive renovations.”
Another key Trump administration official, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, told MSNBC that Democratic leaders and Trump have “the makings of a deal” but stressed that “there’s no done deal.”
Back to the Democrats
Schumer weighed in again this morning, saying that they “reached an understanding on this issue.”
“We have to work out details. We can work together on a border security package with the White House and get DACA on the floor quickly,” he said.
“While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the president made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear that we would continue to oppose it,” Schumer said.
“There is still much to be done. We have put meat on the bones of the agreement. Details will matter,” he said. “It was a very, very positive step for the president to commit to DACA protections without insisting on the inclusion of or even a debate about border walls.”
Talking on the tarmac
Moments after landing in Florida, Trump answered more questions about the discussions on DACA and a possible path to citizenship for Dreamers.
“We’re not looking at citizenship. We’re not looking at amnesty,” he said. “We’re not talking about amnesty.”
Trump made clear that whether it’s in the budget or some other vehicle, if funding for the wall is not secured, there will be no deal on DACA.
“We’ll only do it if we get extreme security,” he said. “Ultimately, we have to have a wall. If we don’t have a wall, we won’t have anything.”
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, holds her weekly news conference in the Capitol, Sept. 14, 2017.
Back to Pelosi
Pelosi held a brief news conference before heading to Senate voting this morning and appeared to contradict what Trump said.
She said that it was her understanding that Trump agreed to a new version of the Dream Act — a 2001 failed bill on children of unauthorized immigrants, predating DACA — including an earned path to citizenship.
Trump’s and Pelosi’s comments came within minutes of each other. Pelosi said that, while she couldn’t respond to every comment or tweet, the Dream Act was the topic on the table after last night’s dinner.