The president blinked.
Donald Trump wants his border wall funded, but he apparently wants to keep the government open on his 100th day in office a little bit more. Facing the prospect of a government shutdown in four days, the president reportedly backed off his demand that a must-pass spending bill include a downpayment for the wall he wants to construct along the nation’s southern border. Trump told a group of conservative journalists on Monday evening that he would be willing to accept money for the wall during the next government-funding debate in September, effectively defusing a clash that had been building between Capitol Hill and the White House ahead of the April 28 deadline to avert a partial shutdown.
The president’s softening line wasn’t all that surprising. Democrats had held firm against funding the wall from the start, and Republican leaders were in no mood for a countdown-clock showdown so early in Trump’s tenure and after they had already muffed their attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A battle over the wall, they reasoned, could come later. Not even the president seemed to have his heart fully in the fight—neither he nor his top advisers would take the necessary step of actually threatening to veto a spending bill that did not include some of the $1.4 billion the administration had requested to begin development of the wall.