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VIDEO: Trump says GOP leaders 'on board' in immigration talks

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published September 14, 2017 at 6:34 a.m. Updated September 14, 2017 at 2:17 p.m.

president-donald-trump-speaks-to-members-of-the-media-before-boarding-marine-one-on-the-south-lawn-of-the-white-house-in-washington-thursday-sept-14-2017-for-a-short-trip-to-andrews-air-force-base-and-then-on-to-fort-myers-fla-to-meet-with-citizens-impacted-by-hurricane-irma-ap-photoandrew-harnik

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base and then on to Fort Myers, Fla. to meet with citizens impacted by Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was "fairly close" to a deal with congressional leaders to preserve protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants living illegally in America and declared that Republican leaders were "very much on board."

But Trump, speaking to reporters before surveying hurricane damage in Florida, pushed back against Democratic leaders who claimed there was a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative. He also said his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would "come later" but would need to happen soon.

"We're working on a plan subject to getting massive border controls. We're working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen," Trump said. He added: "'I think we're fairly close, but we have to get massive border security."

After he landed in Florida, he declared repeatedly, "If we don't have a wall, we're doing nothing."

Trump, in a series of early morning tweets, disputed the characterization of a private White House dinner on Wednesday night by his guests, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the top Democrats on Capitol Hill. Trump said there was no deal, despite a statement from Pelosi and Schumer announcing a broad agreement.

On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Schumer insisted that both sides were in agreement and there was no dispute.

"If you listen to the president's comments this morning ... it is clear that what Leader Pelosi and I put out last night was exactly accurate," said Schumer. "We have reached an understanding on this issue. We have to work out details, and we can work together on a border security package with the White House and get DACA on the floor quickly."

Indeed, in the face of pushback from conservative lawmakers and media outlets — including Breitbart, run by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon — the White House appeared focused more on shaping presentation of the agreement than on denying it outright.

"By no means was any deal ever reached," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to Florida. "This is something that Congress needs to work on."

But Breitbart was already labeling Trump "Amnesty Don."

"The Trump administration will not be discussing amnesty," Walters said. The president wants "a responsible path forward in immigration reform. That could include legal citizenship over a period of time. But absolutely by no means will this White House discuss amnesty," she said, although most conservatives would consider "legal citizenship over a period of time" to meet the definition of amnesty.

GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, addressed Trump over Twitter, writing that if the reports were true, "Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible."

Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement that the details on border security needed to be negotiated, that both sides agreed "the wall would not be any part of this agreement" and that Trump said he would pursue the wall later.

[VIDEO: We Are 'Working' on DACA Plan, Trump says]

And soon after, Trump appeared to confirm that approach. "The wall will come later, we're right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new," he told reporters before his Florida trip.

He also said Republican congressional leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky favored his approach on the immigration program. "Ryan and McConnell agree with us on DACA," Trump said, adding that he had spoken to them by telephone.

Ryan, meanwhile, was adamant after speaking with Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that no agreement had been reached.

"The president wasn't negotiating a deal last night. The president was talking with Democratic leaders to get their perspectives," he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, tried to make sense of the confusion.

"Slow down the trains, there's no agreement," said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., who warned: ''You can make a deal all you want; it's got to get past the House and the Senate."

A person briefed on the Wednesday night meeting, who spoke on condition anonymity about the private get-together, said the deal had centered on bipartisan legislation that would provide eventual citizenship for the young immigrants.

But Trump said Thursday that citizenship was off the table: "We're not looking at citizenship. We're not looking at amnesty. We're looking at allowing people to stay here," he said.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: VIDEO: Trump says GOP leaders 'on board' in immigration talks

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 total comments

mrcharles says... September 14, 2017 at 10:58 a.m.

I have faith he will do the right thing!

( | suggest removal )

DEE672 says... September 14, 2017 at 11:51 a.m.

One cannot believe a single word this man says.

( | suggest removal )

skeptic1 says... September 14, 2017 at 11:58 a.m.

What's a Democrat to do when the object of their wrath and disdain crosses the aisle to work with them, same question to the obstructionist Republicans.

( | suggest removal )

RBear says... September 14, 2017 at 12:44 p.m.

skeptic, work with him to move the agenda forward. Kinda wish Republicans would have had the same attitude with Obama as Democrats are now. Instead, they chose to fight Obama even if they knew he was right. You tell me which one is the party of the people.

( | suggest removal )

Zepplin1 says... September 14, 2017 at 4:04 p.m.

please dont reveal the plan until the democrats knee-jerk reaction that changes were coming draws blood. it's funnier that way.

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