(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s priorities “have not changed” as far as building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is concerned.
“The president made it very clear -- I think he tweeted about this earlier -- his priorities have not changed. There will be a wall built. It's important to prevent human trafficking, gangs like MS-13 from coming into the country, the flow of illegal drugs, illegal immigration,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
“Don't let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc,” the president tweeted Tuesday.
On Monday, he tweeted “The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If ....the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!”
“There is a national economic and safety issue by having a wall that ensures our country's safety, and there's plenty of planning that can be done in FY17. We're going to continue -- our priorities are clear going into FY17, the remainder of budgeting for that, and we'll continue to ask for more in FY18,” the press secretary said.
Spicer emphasized that there will not be a delay in funding for the wall.
“No, no. I never -- no one said delayed. No, no -- there's two budget processes,” he said. “Right now we're going to end FY17 this week.
“We hope to continue to get funding in that, as the president laid out, for both border security and homeland security and national defense, as we've always maintained, and then when we come to FY18, that starts at the beginning of October, the end of September, and that next budget will go for the next group of money,” Spicer said.
“We've made our priorities very clear as we continue to negotiate, and I think nothing has changed on the president's priorities,” he said.
When asked whether the president is no longer insisting there is money for the wall in the current appropriations bill, Spicer said, “The president's priorities are clear for FY17
“There's a lot of things that we can do in the remaining months, up until the end of September, for planning and making sure that we get everything that we need, funding that we need for that aspect of things, and then as we go into FY18, we'll continue to ask for more. I don’t think anything has changed,” he added.
When asked whether the president is insisting that there is money for actual construction of the wall in the current appropriations bill, Spicer said, “We are still in discussions with the House and Senate leadership, but I think the president has been very clear that he wants a wall. He wants it done as soon as we can do it.
“There are things that we need to do to protect our country -- like human trafficking, the flow of illegal drugs and gangs -- that are going to make sure that while we've achieved a significant drop in illegal alien border crossings -- down 61 percent since January -- that this is something that's in our country's long-term national security interest,” Spicer added.
When asked whether actual construction of the wall can wait until the fall, Spicer said, “No, it's not a question of wait until the fall. I think there's a lot of things that have to happen. It's like any construction.”
“Before you start construction?” the reporter asked.
“Well, you got to start doing some planning and things, and so we will take the first steps now, and then we will continue to seek funding through the FY18 and further budget to make sure that the actual -- that it is completed,” Spicer said.