President Donald Trump changed his messaging about a proposed barrier along the U.S. Mexico border Thursday, telling Congress to refer to it as a “wall” and to “stop playing political games.”
“Lets [sic] just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games,” he tweeted. “A WALL is a WALL.”
Recently, Trump referred to the wall as a “barrier,” claiming he never said he would build a “wall” made of concrete. But in December he said that “some areas will be all concrete” while others would be “see-through.”
Earlier in January, Trump said at a press briefing that “steel is stronger than concrete” and that he would use it to construct fencing along the border. He blamed Democrats for changing the terminology.
“If I build this wall, or fence, or anything the Democrats need to call it…I’m not into names, I’m into production. I’m into something that works,” he said.
Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
The president also suggested Thursday that Republicans were wasting their time trying to work with Democrats to secure funding to build a wall on the southern border.
“Democrats, despite all of the evidence, proof and Caravans coming, are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL,” Trump tweeted. “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built. I don’t expect much help.”
Trump didn’t elaborate, but he likely is referencing a section of existing fencing on the border in San Diego, California, that was replaced last year. However, the wall he longer stretch of wall he has demanded — and shut down part of the government over — is not currently being built. (This didn’t stop the Trump administration from posting a plaque along the fencing in October, hailing it as the first section of Trump’s wall.)
Trump’s tweets Thursday morning could be a bad sign for negotiations ahead of the next budget deadline February 15. Last week, Trump capitulated to pressure from Democrats — and a handful of Republicans — and agreed to end a partial government shutdown that lasted a record-breaking 35 days. But, he warned, he was only supporting enough funding to keep the government open for three weeks and would shut down the government again if Congress did not grant him $5.7 billion for a wall, a sticking point for Democrats the last time around.
“This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and to vote for money for the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call it, it’s OK with me,” he said last week. “They can name it whatever. They can name it ‘peaches.’ I don’t care what they name it. But we need money for that barrier.”
He added, “We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea — we never did.”