As Democratic leadership refuses to give President Donald Trump a single dollar for the border wall, rank-and-file Democrats are publicly expressing support for funding some kind of physical barrier.
The partial government shutdown over border security is now in its fourth week, as Democrats refuse to fulfill the president’s request for $5.7 billion in funding for the wall. At most, Democratic leaders have offered just $1.6 billion for “border security” and nothing for the wall — even if Trump re-opens the government prior to negotiating.
Two administration officials told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that they are planning on exploiting fissures in the Democratic Party, particularly among newly-elected Democrats in border states whose constituents support a physical border barrier. The White House hopes the strategy puts pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The strategy appears to be a sound one, as a number of Democrats have publicly stated that they support funding for at least a partial border wall or fence.
Freshman Democratic California Rep. Katie Hill told CNN last week that she would “vote for some money for physical barriers.”
Democratic Washington Rep. Adam Smith conceded that “the wall is not in itself a bad idea” and that he voted for some fencing in the past, but claimed that the president has not appropriately justified adding more barriers on the border.
“If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our borders safe, all of that is fine,” Democratic Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos said on CNN before admonishing the president for refusing to accept anything less than $5.7 billion for a barrier.
Democratic California Rep. John Garamendi similarly said that he would support a border fence, stating, “Democrats have repeatedly said that we will support border security, we will support all of its elements including fences.”
“There may be places where everybody will agree, ‘Yeah, a wall makes sense there,’” Independent Maine Sen. Angus King said, adding that he believes the current debate in Congress is a full wall versus open borders.
Republican Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman claimed on WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” yesterday that even more Democrats admit privately that they support some kind of physical barrier.
Notably, Trump is no longer proposing a solid concrete wall across the entire border as he hinted at during the 2016 campaign. Rather, similar to the wishes of the above Democrats, the White House’s border wall proposal includes fencing in highly-trafficked areas, concrete walls in areas prone to flooding, drone technology and repairs to existing fencing.