President Donald Trump denied Thursday an assertion by Congress' top two Democrats that they reached an agreement with him that would preserve protections for young immigrants in the U.S. illegally while providing border security enhancements, but not the Southern wall he has coveted.
"No deal was made last night on DACA," known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Trump tweeted before daybreak Thursday, contracting a characterization of a private White House dinner Wednesday night by his guests, Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote," Trump said in one of a series of posts to his Twitter account."
Hours earlier, shortly after the conclusion of the dinner, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had pushed back against the Schumer-Pelosi statement embracing the claim of a deal. Sanders reiterated that point Thursday, saying, "While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to."
It was a bizarre turn of events for a president who's been inclined recently to turn to Democrats to jump-start legislative imperatives, and it came just days after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to back a three-month extension of the debt limit in order to speed federal financial assistance to hurricane-ravaged Southern states.
"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," Trump said in one of Thursday's stream of tweets. But he also voiced sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants vulnerable to deportation even though they were brought to the United States as toddlers or young children. He had announced last week that his administration was rescinding the DACA program, launched by President Barack Obama, and gave Congress 60 months to address the issue.
"Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military, really?" he tweeted. "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at a young age. Plus BIG border security."
The agreement claimed by Schumer and Pelosi represents the latest instance of Trump ditching his own party to make common cause with the opposition.
"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," Pelosi and Schumer said in their joint statement.
In response to the White House's initial dissent to the Democratic statement, elosi spokesman Drew Hammill said that "the president was clear he would press for the wall but separate from this agreement."