President Donald Trump is getting frustrated with his administration’s own demands for border wall funding.
In a private meeting regarding the wall Monday, Trump fumed to senators and his own staff about the $1.6 billion the Senate is planning to send him this fall, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Trump wants the full $25 billion upfront and doesn’t understand why Congress is going to supply him funds in a piecemeal fashion — even though that’s how the spending process typically works.
“He was fixated on the $25 [billion],” said one of the people. He “didn’t get the concept of annual appropriations.”
In fact, the $1.6 billion figure came from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who was present at the meeting. Mulvaney submitted the request to Congress earlier this year, though OMB has since upped its ask to $2.2 billion.
On Monday, GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Richard Shelby of Alabama both tried to explain to Trump that the Senate is merely meeting Mulvaney’s request and has to cut a bipartisan deal with Democrats. The Senate needs 60 votes to pass a spending bill, so Republicans would have to find at least nine Democratic votes.
“We’re going to do make a down payment on that working together,” said Capito, chairwoman of Homeland Security spending panel. The Appropriations Committee, which is led by Shelby, will begin working to pass its bill on Tuesday.
But Trump has not been mollified. He raised his voice several times in Monday’s meeting with Mulvaney, White House staffers and the senators, insisting that he needs the full $25 billion — an unlikely outcome in the narrowly-divided Senate.