Democrat lawmakers shut down a border security briefing at the White House Wednesday, refusing to give Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen a full hearing, according to Republicans who were in on the meeting.
During a press conference after the briefing, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters outside the White House that he was “a little disappointed with, I would say, some on the other side” because even amid the national security crisis on the border, the Democrats cut short Sec. Nielson’s briefing. He said that President Trump requested that they come back on Friday for further negotiations.
“We had a violent mob rush yesterday,” McCarthy noted, referring to the 150 migrants who tried to storm the border fence in Tijuana on Sunday. “We know that we have a challenge along the border. We want to solve that issue.”
When asked what happened at the briefing, McCarthy answered: “Once the secretary started, Senator Schumer interrupted her and they really didn’t want to hear it and they challenged some of the points the secretary made.”
A White House official told The Daily Caller that the general consensus in the room was that negotiations would be put on hold until Pelosi officially assumed her role as speaker.
The White House official told TheDC that both Pelosi and Schumer refused to hear out Nielsen’s briefing and instead advocated for two solutions to end the government shutdown. Neither of the Democratic options would provide the additional funding for border security requested by The White House.
According to the Caller, Nielsen’s briefing was set up to explain the impact of the growing migrant crisis on the southern border.
White House officials believed the educational brief would help convince the Democratic leaders that funding for a physical border barrier is necessary.
Unfortunately, McCarthy said that Democrats weren’t interested in hearing what Nielson had to say. Rather than listen to Homeland Security’s concerns, he said they wanted to move on and discuss their bill, which doesn’t include funding for border security and which the president has made clear he will not support.
“The president has also made it clear that his number one responsibility is to keep this country safe, and Secretary Nielson wanted to go over some very alarming numbers,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said.
One of those alarming numbers involved the apprehension of terrorists trying to get into the country. “Last year alone, there were more than 3,700 known or suspected terrorists that were stopped from entering this country,” Scalise pointed out.
“The president and vice president stayed here over the Christmas holidays and there was absolutely no negotiation from the other side,” he added.
Nancy Pelosi, it should be noted, was spotted vacationing at a four-diamond resort in Hawaii over Christmas.
Scalise told reporters that Democrats “want to keep delaying and have a government shutdown while President Trump has said he wants to secure the border.”
Pelosi and Schumer told reporters outside the White House that they would continue with their plan to have House Democrats pass legislation to re-open the government minus any of the White House’s demands.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, said in a statement Tuesday night that Pelosi’s proposal was a “non-starter.”
Update 9:58 p.m. EST: White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley provided more details on Fox News tonight regarding the border security briefing at the White House. Gidley said that five seconds after President Trump introduced Nielsen to brief the lawmakers, Senator Schumer “prompted Nancy Pelosi to cut Secretary Nielsen off, which she dutifully did within seconds, and then the entire presentation was basically over.” He added that Nielson was only allowed to say about “50 words in her entire presentation.”
He said Pelosi refused to listen to the alarming border statistics the secretary was sharing, and refused to believe them as well. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Gidley said.