After Congress forged a bipartisan border security funding agreement, President Donald Trump on Tuesday revealed his dissatisfaction with the compromise.
“I can’t say I’m happy,” he told reporters at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “I can’t say I’m thrilled.”
“Am I happy? The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy,” he added.
BREAKING: Trump said he’s “not happy” about the border deal Congress reached, but added that he’s happy about “where we’re going.”
“We’re building in the face of tremendous obstruction and tremendous opposition from a small group of people” https://t.co/15FLGl9GhM pic.twitter.com/Vmwp8tmIGy
— POLITICO (@politico) February 12, 2019
The President’s remarks were the first he made publicly since news of the deal broke late Monday.
Lawmakers failed to agree on the $5.7 billion funding amount that Trump had requested. Instead, they agreed on $1.375 billion to be used in constructing 55 miles worth of fencing on the border.
The agreement is still tentative, and Trump expressed some hope that continued negotiations could add funding to the measure before it’s officially introduced. “It’s not doing the trick, and I’m still adding things to it,” Trump noted.
He said did not think the agreement would spark another lengthy government shutdown.
Trump also pointed the finger at Democrats, who have been consistent in their refusal to concede to his border wall funding requests.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a shutdown,” he said. “If you did have it, it’s the Democrats’ fault.”
He added, “I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us.”
Trump is still reportedly considering whether or not to sign the deal, as well as other potential executive actions he would take to pursue the border wall construction as intended. A national emergency declaration or executive order to divert funds are two actions he could take, though both are likely to draw legal challenges.
The deadline for a new deal is this Friday when last month’s three-week stopgap measure expires. The measure served as a temporary halt in the partial government shutdown enacted when Congress couldn’t agree on a funding deal that included the $5.7 billion in border wall funds. What followed was a 36-day partial government shutdown – the longest in history.
Monday’s agreement also includes the authorization of 40,520 detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), down from 49,000.
“The notion that Congress shouldn’t spend more than one dollar on new border barriers, and the idea that we should impose a hard, statutory cap on ICE detainees in the interior of the country, which would require the release of criminals into the United States,” was rejected, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Increasing the number of beds even more – a move by Democrats – would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reroute funds from other projects, which some say can compromise national security.