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Mulvaney: Trump offering to take concrete wall 'off the table'
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said President Trump has moved away from his desire for a concrete wall along the U.S.-Mexico border toward a plan for metal fencing instead, which he said indicates how the president is working to compromise with Democrats.
In an interview set to air Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mulvaney says that the president has shown a "willingness" to compromise with Democrats to reopen the government, which has remained partially closed for 15 days.
"[The president] was willing to agree, and he mentioned this at the Rose Garden press conference, to take a concrete wall off the table," Mulvaney tells NBC's Chuck Todd in the interview.
"If that is not evidence of our willingness to solve the problem," Mulvaney continued. "Because again, what's driving this is the president's desire to change the conditions at the border. And if he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, 'See? He's not building a wall anymore' that should help us move in the right direction."
Mulvaney's comments come after congressional staffers met with him, White House officials and Vice President Pence on Saturday in what Mulvaney called an unproductive meeting in comments to CNN, and which Trump described as not making "much headway" toward an agreement to fund the government.
"V.P. Mike Pence and team just left the White House. Briefed me on their meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives. Not much headway made today. Second meeting set for tomorrow. After so many decades, must finally and permanently fix the problems on the Southern Border!" Trump tweeted Saturday.
The president met with congressional leaders on Friday amid ongoing negotiations to reopen the government, after which Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters that Trump had threatened to keep the government partially closed indefinitely.
"We told the president we needed the government open," Schumer told reporters after the meeting. "He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years."