Two weeks ago, as the Trump shutdown was looming, an offer of compromise to keep the country running came from an unexpected source: Trump’s second-in-command, Mike Pence. According to a new report from Fortune Magazine, Pence made an offer just before the “border security” meeting between Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Charles Schumer held at the White House — the occasion on which Trump declared he would not blame Democrats for the government shutdown.
The Vice President had privately assured Senators from both sides of the political aisle that Trump would sign a stopgap bill that would kick the can down the road to February 8th. But after the Senate passed that bill, Trump announced he would not sign it, and the House refused to even send it to a vote.
The details out now about Pence’s offer are even more startling, given the President’s intransigence toward any compromise with Democrats that did not include the $5.6 billion he wants for funding for the misguided and racist wall along our southern border.
Pence’s suggestion was for less than half the money that Trump wanted, with none of it specifically earmarked for new wall construction. The news magazine’s report on that offer detailed it as “$2.5 billion for border security, including new fencing and $400 million for Trump immigration priorities,” the latter of which was described by Democrats as a “slush fund.” But prior to today’s reporting, that offer had been known only as a counteroffer “from the White House,” rather than as having come from the desk of the Vice President.
Trump rejected that compromise out of hand, telling everyone present, “No, not $2.5 billion, no—we’re asking for $5.6.”
From the looks of it, two things are happening here: Number one, Mike Pence is wildly underestimating how stubborn Donald Trump is, if he “assured” Senators that Trump would sign a compromise. And number two, Trump may have rejected the deal, but the fact that Pence felt comfortable enough to make the offer and speak privately to both his own and the opposing party means Pence feels like he’s a little closer to the reins of power than perhaps Trump would like to imagine.
Featured image via screen capture