Pence: 'Disappointing' to See Pelosi Reject Trump's Offer Before He Spoke'; Wash Post: 'Make a Deal'

By Susan Jones | January 21, 2019 | 6:59am EST
"The president is offering a solution, and what we have from Democrat leadership so far is just soundbites," Vice President Mike Pence told "Fox News Sunday." (Photo: Screen capture)

( - President Trump on Saturday afternoon offered "a good faith compromise to address what is a genuine humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border and end the government shutdown," Vice President Mike Pence told "Fox News Sunday."

"It was disappointing to see Speaker Pelosi reject the offer before the president gave his speech," Pence said.

"I mean, look, the president is offering a solution, and what we have from Democrat leadership so far is just soundbites. And American people want us to work together to resolve these issues," Pence said.


Trump's plan includes:

-- $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance;

-- $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure ports of entry;

-- An additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals;

-- 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the court backlog of almost 900,000 cases;

-- A new system to allow Central American minors to apply for asylum in their home countries;

-- "Reform" to allow "family reunification for unaccompanied children";

-- $5.7 billion for a "strategic deployment of physical barriers, or a wall." ("These are steel barriers in high priority locations," Trump said. "Our request will add another 230 miles this year in the areas our border agents most urgently need.)

-- Three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients so they can legally work in the U.S.;

-- A three-year extension of temporary protected status (TPS) for 300,000 immigrants whose protected status is facing expiration.

As Trump and Pence both noted, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring Trump's proposals to a vote this week in the United States Senate.

"Do you have the seven Senate Democrats that you're going to need to break the filibuster?" host Chris Wallace asked Pence.

"Well, as the president often says, we'll see," Pence replied. "You know, I think when the American people have an opportunity to look at this proposal, which is truly a balanced, good faith compromise, when they reflect on what is a real humanitarian crisis on our southern border  -- I mean, we have 60,000 people a month attempting to come into this country illegally. It's 2,000 people a dayA

"And for the first time, Chris, ever, the vast majority are families and unaccompanied children being exploited by human traffickers and cartels that take cash to have them take the long and dangerous journey.

"It is overwhelming our system, and in the midst of that, narcotics, criminals are coming across our borders, 17,000 apprehended last year. The American people want action on our southern border. They want border security, 800,000 federal workers want us to find a way to open the government."

Pence said Trump's plan would re-open the government, but Democrats insist that government reopen before any negotiations begin.

"Are you rejecting that?" Wallace asked Pence.

"Well, look, I think it was about a week and a half ago the president spoke to Speaker Pelosi in the Situation Room and said, look, if I gave you everything you wanted, if I reopen the government and gave you 30 days to work with us on homeland security issues, to address the crisis on our southern border, would you give me border security and funding for a wall? She said no.

"So, the president said to us let's go to rank-and-file members and since that time, our negotiation team has been sitting down talking to House Democrats. We've been in contact with Senate Democrats, and the president told us to listen. And what the American people heard yesterday was statesmanship, was the president laying out a genuine compromise."

Pence noted that even The Washington Post, in an editorial published on Sunday, urged Democrats to "Make a deal. Save the dreamers."

Although Trump "should not be rewarded for having taken the government hostage," the Post editorial board wrote, there are "real people" who "depend utterly on what Congress and the president do now."

According to that editorial:

Mr. Trump’s offer should be welcomed but not accepted as the final word. There should be room to talk about the amount of money; how border security will be defined and enhanced; which categories of dreamers and TPS beneficiaries are covered; what their legal status will be, and for how long. But to refuse even to talk until the government reopens does no favors to sidelined federal workers and contractors.

Unquestionably a deal would contain galling elements for both sides; that’s the nature of compromise. But a measure of statesmanship for a member of Congress now is the ability to accept some disappointments, and shrug off the inevitable attacks from purists, if it means rescuing the lives of thousands of deserving people living among us.

Wallace told Pence that Democrats "aren't going to accept" Trump's offer.

"Well, I'm not sure that's true, Chris. I'm not sure that's true," Pence replied. "We've had a lot of dialogue."

In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump wrote: "To all of the great people who are working so hard for your Country and not getting paid I say, THANK YOU - YOU ARE GREAT PATRIOTS! We must now work together, after decades of abuse, to finally fix the Humanitarian, Criminal & Drug Crisis at our Border. WE WILL WIN BIG!"

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