‘Why are we fighting over this? We’re going to build that wall anyway, at some time…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., called on the rest of his party to step up and fund President Trump’s border wall as the partial government shutdown drags on.
“Give Trump the money,” Peterson said in an interview with Fargo, a North Dakota-based radio station.
“I’d give him the whole thing … and put strings on it so you make sure he puts the wall where it needs to be. Why are we fighting over this? We’re going to build that wall anyway, at some time.”
Trump has requested $5.7 billion from Congress for the construction of a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border but has signaled he would be willing to compromise on details—including the total sum and whether it would actually be a concrete wall or metal slats.
Peterson has sided with Trump before and represents a district that the president won in 2016 by a 30-point margin. He has one of the most conservative voting records among House Democrats and is a founding member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called border wall funding a “non-starter,” solidifying Democratic opposition and pushing the government shutdown into its second month.
On Saturday, the president announced sweeping compromise deal that would have extended three years of deportation protection to roughly a million immigrants. However, Democrat leaders hastily rejected it.
Peterson suggested that some of that money can be used for other border security purposes, like increasing Border Patrol’s efforts and improving security measures at ports of entry.
“I don’t know if I want to give [Trump] a blank check, but I don’t want to preclude him from getting the money either, if he’s going to use the money correctly.”
Peterson added that he’s one of the only Democrats to ditch his party in favor of border security.
“I don’t know how we get to a deal,” he said. “The White House hasn’t called me.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., planned to vote Thursday on dueling bills from the Democrat House and Republican Senate—the former without the wall funding and the latter with it—but despite the efforts of congressmen like Peterson, it was unlikely that either bill would gain the traction needed to reopen the government.
“When I bring up what I have to say [to Democrats], they look at me cross-eyed,” Peterson said.