Democratic lawmaker makes 'plea' to Trump in border wall debate

Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeHouse panel approves bill to set up commission on reparations Race debate grips Congress Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years MORE (Texas) made a "personal plea" to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE on Tuesday that "in this season it is a moment of prayerfulness: that you can make the right decision that we carry these debates forward or you recognize that this wall is not going forward.”

Her plea followed a blow-up between Democratic leaders and Trump during negotiations on funding part of the government. Jackson Lee, who was not in the meeting, said Democrats sent their best negotiators -- Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda Rep. Andy Kim on Asian hate: 'I've never felt this level of fear' MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWatchdog: Capitol Police need 'culture change' Julia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback MORE (D-Calif.) to the meeting to discuss the issues with Trump.

“We’ve sent our best in to negotiate," she told reporters. "I think they offered a number of positive solutions dealing with, can we extend a [continuing resolution], can we work partially – even to the extent that probably some members, Democratic members would have questioned -- but we trust our leadership to come back and give us the best way forward. As I understand this blow up the final sentence was, 'we will shut the government down.”

Trump reportedly told Democrats in the Oval Office meeting on Tuesday that he would take the blame for shutting down the government if they could not agree on a solution. Democrats have been offering $1.3 billion for border fencing and barriers, short of Trump's $5 billion request.

Jackson Lee argued that money to build a wall on the southern border, a request Trump has made and a key promise he made on the campaign trail, shouldn't even be a consideration in the must-pass funding bill.

“All of us recall the idea that Mexico was going to pay for this wall,” Jackson Lee said, noting that she was in that country last week to attend the inauguration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“Speaking to a lot of the leadership in Mexico,” Jackson Lee said she found a “willing partner” in the Mexican government that “they are ready to work on their side of the border, with all of these individuals who are desperately fleeing mostly Central America and all we have to do is to provide the sort of tools of magistrates, courts, staffing to work with the asylum requests - as the law requires - and we may have a solution.”

— Molly K. Hooper