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President Donald Trump Layout New Proposal To End The Government Shutdown Offering What He Believes Is A Compromise To Democrats; Pelosi Rejects Trump's Proposal to End the Shutdown; Poll: Majority of Americans Blame Trump & Republicans for Shutdown. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired January 19, 2019 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:03] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here.
Breaking new. We are about to see President Trump at the art of the deal to the test as federal workers endure day 29 now of the partial government shutdown. Just moments from now, the President will address the nation from right there in the diplomatic reception room at the White House.
Two sources telling CNN, he is going to offer extended protections for DACA recipients or dreamers in exchange for some border wall funding. But the President's proposal is already dead on arrival with the Democrats saying, he is negotiating with really nothing new here. It's an offer that's already been rejected and saying this means that this shutdown is likely to drag on for the nearly one million federal workers affected.
CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is live for us now at the White House. So is our Ryan Nobles in Washington for us.
Sarah, walk us through what the President is expected to offer.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Ana, we expect President Trump to lay out what would be his broadest offer yet, it would involve trading wall money for some of the immigration reforms, the Democrats have been pursuing.
Now, the deal would involve President Trump holding firm on that demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding in exchange for a temporary extension of DACA protections for those young undocumented immigrants known as dreamers as well as a temporary extension of TPS protections, temporary protected status for some immigrants, a move that would allow them to stay in the country.
Now CNN is told that the White House decided to do this announcement today because it wanted to project an image of progress after a week of escalating feuds between President Trump and speaker Pelosi. White House aides worked into the night last night to get this proposal ready for today's announcement.
And CNN is also told that vice president Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, all led efforts to get this proposed deal together in time for this announcement.
But let's take a step back. This is not a new idea. It's one that in the past President Trump has not supported. And in fact in recent weeks, he has been saying that he would prefer to wait, to negotiate on DACA until cases are resolved in the courts that resulted from legal challenges that arose, after he actually attempted to rescind DACA. So it's not clear yet, Ana, if this is the thing that gets the two sides talking again after more than a week of nobody speaking to each other.
CABRERA: And Ryan, I know you are hearing that this is not the thing that's going to get this ball rolling. The Democrats saying this deal is already dead on arrival. What exactly are Democrats taking issue with?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have heard now from the speaker of the House, Ana, who is yet to see specifically what President Trump has to say and what we are about to hear in just a few minutes.
But this is what Nancy Pelosi said in a statement just a few minutes ago. She said quote "unfortunately, initial reports make it clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives. It's unlikely that any of these provisions alone would pass the House and taken together they are a nonstarter. For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the dreamers and the TPS recipient that our country needs and supports."
And Ana, That is the important distinction here between previous negotiations that the White House and Congressional Democrats have had over this immigration issue. In the past, Chuck Schumer, for instance, offered President Trump as much as $25 billion to build his wall. But in exchange for that, they wanted a definitive pathway to citizenship for the dreamers, would be a 10 to 14-year process for many of them. But it would give them that life-long protection that they are searching for.
In this instance, what the President is proposing, if it is does ends up being what we think it's going to be, the bridge act, that would only be a stopgap measure, would protect them from a short - for a short period of time, but would leave that open ended question of whether or not they would be vulnerable at some point. And in exchange for $6 million in permanent wall funding.
And the message that we are getting from Democrats across the board, Ana, both in the House and Senate, is that they are not going to trade anything permanent for something temporary. We'll have to see how the President describes this proposal when he comes out and speaks in a few minutes. Of course, we never know specifically what the President is going to say until it comes out of his mouth. But if it's based on what we are reporting and we feel pretty confident about it, this is something that Democrats in Congress are just not going to be interested in.
CABRERA: All right, Ryan Nobles, Sarah Westwood, stand by as we await the President's remarks.
Again, live pictures right now from inside the White House. As soon as the President takes the podium, we will listen in and take it live.
In the meantime, let's continue the discussion with former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign and CNN political commentator, Symone Sanders. Republican strategist and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Selter and CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston.
So Mark, a senior House democratic aide is saying this offer has no chance of passing in the House or the Senate, but has the President just put public pressure on them to come back to the negotiating table?
[16:05:14] MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, they are certainly trying to. So let's just look at the situation we are in right now. It's Saturday afternoon on the east coast here in Washington D.C. About 24 hours ago, President Trump said that he was going to hold this major event at the White House, so he's working really hard, at least that's what the message he's trying to portray. Then his day is lined up this way. He does a dignified transfer, which is what every President should do. And our hearts and souls go out to the service members that were recently killed.
Then after that, he does a naturalization service, to show that he's not anti-immigration. And now he is going to go out and offer a proposal that we already know is not really a compromise, what he's trying to do is turn public opinion right now, the question is, is that going to be successful? I don't think so, certainly not now in the short run, given his public pronunciations in the past where he said that he would own the government shutdown. I don't think there's anyone out there that can say the government should be shut down based on the fighting over this border wall.
CABRERA: I'm not sure that all Americans would agree this is not a legitimate compromise, Symone. Because just a year ago, the Democrats offered Trump $25 billion for money that would pay for the border wall in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the dreamers, for those DACA recipients. And I get this is not exactly the same, but can Democrats really walk away from agreeing to $5 billion in exchange for three years of protection for dreamers. I mean, neither side gets everything, but wouldn't both sides get something?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Bothe sides would not get something.
Look. The deal you previously referred to that the President had previously agreed to saying, look, $25 billion protections for dreamers, the President then went back on that deal. He is not a good faith negotiator here. So now, the President has held the American people hostage, more than 800,000 federal workers are missing their paychecks. Held them hostage over a wall he told us the Mexico would pay for.
CABRERA: Here comes the President. Symone, we will come back to you afterwards, here's the President. Let's listen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just a short time ago I had the honor of presiding over the swearing-in of five new great American citizens. It was a beautiful ceremony, and a moving reminder of our nation's proud history of welcoming legal immigrants from all over the world into our national family.
I told them that the beauty and majesty of citizenship is that it draws no distinctions of race or class or faith or gender or background. All Americans, whether first generation or tenth generation are bound together in love and loyalty, friendship and affection. We're all equal. We're one team and one people proudly saluting one great American flag. We believe in a safe and lawful system of immigration, one that upholds our laws, our traditions and our most cherished values.
Unfortunately, our immigration system has been badly broken for a very long time. Over the decades many presidents and many lawmakers have come and gone and no real progress has been made on immigration.
We are now living with the consequences. And they are tragic. Brought about by decades of political stalemate, partisan gridlock and national neglect. There is a humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border that requires urgent action. Thousands of children are being exploited by ruthless coyotes and vicious cartels and gangs. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the dangerous journey north. In fact, many loving mothers give their young daughters birth control pills for the long journey up to the United States because they know they may be raped or sexually accosted or assaulted.
Nearly 50 migrants a day are being referred for urgent medical care. Vast quantities of lethal narcotics are flooding through our border and into our communities, including meth, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl. Drugs kill 78,000 Americans a year. And cost our society in excess of $700 billion. Heroin alone kills 300 Americans a week. Ninety percent of which comes across our southern border. We can stop heroin.
Illegal immigration reduces wages and strains public services. The lack of border control provides a gateway -- and a very wide and open gateway -- for criminals and gang members to enter the United States, including the criminal aliens who murdered a brave California police officer.
Only a day after Christmas. I have gotten to know and love angel moms, dads and family who lost loved ones to people illegally in our country. I want this to end. It's got to end now. These are not talking points. These are the heart breaking realities that are hurting innocent, precious human beings every single day, on both sides of the border.
As a candidate for President, I promised I would fix this crisis, and I intend to keep that promise one way or the other. Our immigration system should be the subject of pride, not a source of shame. As it is all over the world. Our immigration system should be the envy of the world, not a symbol of disunity and dysfunction. The good news is, these problems can all be solved, but only if we
have the political courage to do what is just and what is right. Both sides in Washington must simply come together, listen to each other, put down their armor, build trust, reach across the aisle and find solutions.
It is time to reclaim our future from the extreme voices who fear compromise and demand open borders, which means drugs pouring in, human trafficking and a lot of crime. That is why I am here today to break the log jam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown. And solve the crisis on the southern border. If we are successful in this effort, we will then have the best chance in a very long time, at real bipartisan immigration reform. And it won't stop here, it will keep going until we do it all.
The proposal I will outline today is based on first and foremost on input from our border agents and homeland security professionals, and professionals they are. They know what they are doing.
It is a compassionate response to the ongoing tragedy on our southern border. In recent weeks, we have met with large numbers of democrat lawmakers, to hear their ideas and suggestions, by incorporating the priorities of rank and file Democrats in our plan. We hope they will offer their enthusiastic support. And I think many will. This is a common sense compromise both parties should embrace. The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen. Walls are not immoral. In fact, they are the opposite of immoral, because they will save many lives and stop drugs from pouring into our country.
Our plan includes the following. $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance. $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry. An additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement professionals, 75 new immigration judge teams to reduce the court backlog of believe it or not almost 900,000 cases.
However, the whole concept of having lengthy trials for anyone who sets one foot in our country unlawfully must be changed by Congress. It is unsustainable. It is ridiculous. A few places in the world would even consider such an impossible nightmare.
Our plan includes critical measures to protect migrant children from exploitation and abuse. This includes a new system to allow Central American miners to apply for asylum in their home countries and reform to promote family reunification for unaccompanied children. Thousands of whom wind up on our border doorstep, to physically secure our border.
The plan includes $5.7 billion for a strategic deployment of physical barriers or a wall. This is not a 2,000 mile concrete structure from sea to sea. These are steel barriers in high priority locations. Much of the border is already protected by natural barriers such as mountains and water. We already have many miles of barrier, including 115 miles that we are currently building or under contract. It will be done quickly. Our request will add another 230 miles this year in the areas our border agents most urgently need. It will have an unbelievable impact.
If we build a powerful and fully designed see through steel barrier on our southern border, the crime rate and drug problem in our country would be quickly and greatly reduced. Some say it could be cut in half. Because these criminals, drug smugglers, gangs and traffickers do not stop at our border, they permeate throughout our country and end up in some places where you'd least expect them. They go all over our country.
A steel barrier will help us stop illegal immigration while safely directing commerce it our lawful ports of entry. Many of these security ideas have been proposed by Democrats themselves. And all of them have been supported by Democrats in the past, including a physical barrier wall or fence. Furthermore, in order to build the trust and good will necessary to begin real immigration reform.
There are two more elements to my plan. Number one is three years of legislative relief for 700,000 DACA recipients brought here unlawfully by their parents at a young age many years ago. This extension will give them access to work permits, Social Security numbers and protection from deportation most importantly. Secondly our proposal provides a three-year extension of temporary protected status or TPS. This means that 300,000 immigrants whose protected status is facing expiration will now have three more years of certainty so that Congress can work on a larger immigration deal which everybody wants, Republicans and Democrats.
And our farmers and vineyards won't be affected because lawful and regulated entry into our country will be easy and consistent.
That is our plan. Border security, DACA, TPS and many other things. Straightforward, fair, reasonable and common sense with lots of compromise. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring this bill to a vote this week in the United States Senate.
Our proposal is not intended to solve all of our immigration challenges. This plan solves the immediate crisis, and it is a horrible crisis. It is a humanitarian crisis like we rarely see in our country. And it provides humanitarian relief. Delivers real border security. And immediately reopens our federal government. If we are successful in this effort. Then we can start the border project of remaking our immigration system for the 21st century.
Once the government is open and we have made a downpayment on border security, and immigration reform starts to happen, I plan to convene weekly bipartisan meetings at the White House so we can do a finished product, a great product. A product that we can all be proud of having to do with that illusive immigration problem.
Whatever we do, I can promise you this. I will never forget that my first duty and ultimate loyalty is to you, the American people. Any reforms we make to our immigration system will be designed to improve your lives, make your community safer and make our nation more prosperous and secure for generations to come.
Thank you and God bless America. Thank you. [16:20:45] CABRERA: That wraps up the President's remarks. He just
laid out a new proposal to hopefully end the government shutdown offering what he believes is a compromise to Democrats to come back to the negotiating table over his border security money as well as now throwing out there potential protections for DACA recipients extending their temporary status. I want to bring back my panel and I will start with you, mark.
Did this get us any closer to ending the government shutdown?
PRESTON: Absolutely not. I mean, as we noted, leading into the speech, Democrats knew what the proposal was going to be. They found about it in the last couple of hours and it's really a nonstarter.
And you know, the President did a couple things there that I thought was very inflammatory. One, continuing to call it a humanitarian crisis. I mean, there's certainly some problems on the border, but how he portrays it as a crisis is meant to instill fear in Americans across the country.
He also said that they built the border, OK. If this border wall went up, some are saying that our crime in the United States can be cut by 50 percent. I mean, come on, that's really outrageous, that he would say that. And it's more outrageous that anyone would believe him in saying that, Ana.
CABRERA: In fact, when he started out his remarks, it almost sounded like a repeat of his oval office remarks that he had made about a week plus ago.
Brian, let me bring in you, it was completed with the factual inaccuracies.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In some cases he moved words around in the speech and said the sentences in a different order. But this was a repeat of the speech that was aired in prime time more than a week ago.
And then the second part was new, this proposal about the shutdown. I think that is because, politically speaking, he has been losing on the shutdown. The polls have been really clear on that. Obviously, the real losers on this have been the Americans. And so that's why the second half of the speech was about that. But the first half of the speech did repeat some of the same misinformation and scare mongering tactics that we heard in prime time a week and a half ago. It's what Chris Cuomo used to call the brown menace narrative about immigration from Mexico.
There was one new statistic the President used that was interesting. He said that the cost of drugs in our society is in excess of $700 billion. It's a huge number, $700 billion. Well NIH says that number is accurate, but that includes everything, tobacco, smoking, alcohol use. That's the cause of all those kinds of drugs but obviously not fully for Mexico. So the President is using the statistic and distorting it in order to make you think the problem is worse than it is. He also once again, as Mark said, said that with a border wall or now
what he is calling it a barrier, the amount of drugs flowing in would be cut dramatically. We all know the government, U.S. government, the DEA says that's not true, most drugs are now come in through the ports of entry, mostly smuggled in through cars and other means. So he is continuing to resort to those rhetorical troves that are actually contradicted by his own government.
CABRERA: A few things that I noted thought when $800 million in humanitarian assistance. More money for border agents. Seventy five new immigration judge teams, invest money for those to be in placed in order to reduce the backlog of some of the immigration currently. I mean, talked about a new idea for unaccompanied minors to apply for asylum in their own country. Again, he is listing a few things and new ideas as well, but some of the things that he initially presented are things Democrats have suggested.
So Ryan Nobles, I know you have been in close contact with your sources there in Washington. Is this still a nonstarter?
NOBLES: Well, Republicans would argue that this is the President trying to be -- at least get back on offense, when it comes to this conversation about the shutdown. And it was interesting, you know, because the GOP aids that we talked to were relatively quiet all day long. They wanted to give the President the opportunity to make this statement before they got out ahead of it. But now they are coming out in troves in support of the President's message.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put out a statement immediately after the President's remarks saying that everybody has made the time to make their points, now it's time to make a law, and that he is prepared to bring this legislation to the floor as soon as possible.
The House minority whip, Steve Scalise just put out a statement in support of the President's proposal here.
And you know from what we are understanding about the White House's thinking on this, they kind of felt that the President was on his heels here, and that was allowing the Democrats to fill up the space saying that he owned the shutdown. That this was his responsibility and he wasn't doing anything to come to the table to present something. So now what Republican leaders are saying is, here, the President is offering you something, and oh, by the way, this something that he is offering you is something that a Democrat once proposed and we are talking about the bridge act here, which was -- that kind of temporary protection for DACA's -- for dreamers, I should say.
Now, we should point out that Dick Durbin who is the Democrat, that cosponsored this legislation with Lindsey Graham has already come out and said that this is not the way he envisioned that piece of legislation being passed, when he initially proposed it, it was under a different time, different circumstances, and he never wanted to be a part of negotiations over the shutdown, that's where we are.
So this is clearly an effort by Republicans to put the ball back in Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's court.
Ana, we already know that even before the President spoke that both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said that this deal wasn't going anywhere for them. The question now is, and Mark Preston has alluded to this earlier, does it change the conversation from a public perception standpoint? Do American people start to now blame Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi more than they are blaming the President? Because right now opinion polls show us, it is the other way around. So this is an optics game right now. And probably the frustrating thing if you are a federal worker right now, this is not really about tangibly solving this government shutdown problem, and there isn't really a clear evidence here that there's a pathway to getting this done in short order.
CABRERA: That's right, 800,000 Americans, federal workers who currently aren't getting a paycheck, not to mention the trickledown effect and then potentially millions of Americans who have been impacted already by this government shutdown, services that some of those federal workers often help supply.
Everyone stay with me. I definitely want to hear from you, Alice and Symone, when we come back from a quick break. We have to squeeze it in. We are back in just a moment.
[16:31:08] CABRERA: Welcome back. I want to bring back our panel to discuss what we just heard from the president as he made his case to try to reopen the government.
Symone, we were talking to you right before the president's remarks, you were saying, this deal as, we knew it at the time, wasn't fair, even though Dems would get temporary protections for DREAMers and the president would get funding for a small portion of his wall. Did anything you heard change your mind?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; It didn't change my mind and it's not going to change the Democrats' mind. The fact is the government is shut down because Donald Trump went back on his original deal. The Senate passed an appropriations deal that did include border security, it did not include money for his wall. When Donald Trump signaled he changed his mind and now he wants money for the wall, the Republican-led House in 2018 decided not to take up the bill. When Democrats gained control of the House, Nancy Pelosi put the Republican Senate appropriations bill on the floor. It passed the House. Mitch McConnell won't take up the bill because President Trump is refusing to sign it. Now, today, Donald Trump conspired with his vice president, Mike Pence, and Stephen Miller, and maybe three other Republicans on a compromise to fix a mess that he put out there. This is not a compromise. This is bunch of things cobbled together that Donald Trump has previously spoken about and has never made good on. Democrats were not involved in these conversations, so how is this a negotiation? This is stupid. I think the American people think this is dumb. If Donald Trump was to have a conversation about real immigration reform, open the government. There are bills that have been passed, the House has voted nine times. I am tired of this exercise of Donald Trump coming out and saying the same thing he said last week, and we're all going to pretend he said something new. He shut the government now and he and Mitch McConnell need to open that thing up. Let's go.
CABRERA: Alice, do you disagree?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do. Look, the reason we're just not opening up the government and talking about this later is because there's zero mutual trust between Republicans and Democrats, the president and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The fact that Nancy Pelosi came out before she heard what he was going to say and said she was not going to support this idea, says a lot. The ball is in her court. It's time for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats to put up or shut up. Yes, she is right, these are previously rejected initiatives that didn't pass before. The difference now and then is that black box on the screen right there that says government shutdown day 29. This is about opening up the government, putting these 800,000 Americans back to work. This is a good faith effort on the part of the president to do so. Look, 70 percent of Americans want to include protections for DREAMers. He is including that in there. The TPS protections, that is a good-faith effort. Look, if we're not going to have Democrats even come to the table and have this conversation, we're not going to get anywhere. I think there's a lot of wiggle room with regard to the number, the $5.7 billion. But if Democrats don't say, OK, we'll take your DREAMers and DACA protections and work from there, we're not going to get anywhere. Right now, it's up to Nancy Pelosi. She needs to put aside her hatred for Donald Trump, and her new fear of the progressive wing, and move the ball down the field on this. And --
CABRERA: I know, Symone, you want to get back in here.
But let me tell you what we have learned about what Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have planned to do next week. That is to pass legislation that would add another billion dollars in border security to the mix. Could that go somewhere?
SANDERS: In my opinion, it should. Democrats have been clear, they will fund border security. Democrats want to fund the Department of Homeland Security. It is not good for anyone. But currently, the Department of Homeland Security is not funded. Folks are going to work for free. This is not safe for Americans. Democrats aren't going to fund Donald Trump's little racist wall. That is why the government is shut down. Donald Trump came back and said, I want money for my wall, a wall he told us Mexico was going to pay for. I kind of feel crazy. Because he shut the government down over lack of wall funding, not over lack of border security funding.
[16:35:22] CABRERA: Right.
SANDERS: All the measures that have been put on the floor have included border security. What they haven't included is his wall funding. Are we going to allow the president to hold us hostage over a campaign promise that he knew was a lie? (CROSSTALK)
CABRERA: Alice, let me ask you that follow-up question, though. If Democrats do end up putting this legislation forward, should Republicans sign off on it, and should the president be on board with that?
STEWART: I think if we can come to an agreement on protections for DREAMers and the TPS recipients, and include some type of border security --
CABRERA: But that's -- I don't want to confuse our viewers. That's not part of this plan, this $1 billion that Democrats are planning to offer in order to open the government. They want that money to go to -- a half a billion dollars to increasing security at the ports of entry, which is where we know the majority of drugs are coming across the border. They want a portion of that money to go to helping the immigration backlog of cases at the border, which is something the president said he wanted to invest in as well. That seems like an area everyone can agree. Is that something that could maybe charge -- give this stand-off and this current stalemate a charge?
STEWART: Look, Ana, everyone has ideas that are worth discussing. We need to have everyone sit down. But the good thing is, everyone, Republicans and Democrats, agree that the border security is a critical issue. The question is, how do we go about making sure that we do that? And I can say this, it's not a surprise that tomorrow is the 2-year anniversary of the president of the United States being the president. He would like to see progress on this. This is an issue that's divided a lot of people. Look, I was a Republican who voted for him. I never thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall, but I knew this was a priority for this president and he wants to make some progress on this. So that idea, the issue the Democrats are promoting, that's something that needs to be discussed as well as what the Republicans are doing. The key is -- and the president mentioned this a couple times in the speech -- we need to build trust and work across the aisle. This is, in my view, his effort to make that happen. I know he has Republican support. I would like to think the Democrats would be on board as well.
CABRERA: Quick break, guys. Everyone's back with me on the flip side. We'll be right back.
[16:42:11] CABRERA: Welcome back. I want you to listen to what we just heard from the president and a portion of what he is proposing to the Democrats to reopen the government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The plan includes $5.7 billion for a strategic deployment of physical barriers, or a wall. This is not a 2,000-mile concrete structure from sea to sea. These are steel barriers in high-priority locations.
It will be done quickly. Our request will add another 230 miles this year in the areas our border agents most urgently need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Mark, he said it's not a wall from sea to shining sea. It's not going to go across the full 2,000 miles. Does it sound like a concession on the wall? He said or barriers.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sounds like they were not hearing him talk about this great, beautiful wall that's going to have a great, beautiful door and it's going to go from sea to shining sea. What he's talking about there's something we've heard from Republicans and Democrats, folks who live along the border, which there's a lot of that southern border that you don't need a wall, you don't need any barriers. It's geographically impossible to get across --
CABRERA: Which is what Democrats have been arguing in their pushback.
PRESTON: Of course. Of course. What you see this week from Democrats - and remind the viewers here, we're not parroting the Democratic line. We're telling you what we heard from Democrats. They're going to come out and offer legislation and then they're going to counter what we've seen President Trump do today. They're going to come out and talk about adding more protections around ports and hiring more judges and hiring more agents as well. This is going to be a public relations war as we have seen it so far. It's a public relations war where there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
CABRERA: Brian, how is conservative media reacting? We know one of the reasons we ended up in a shutdown, because initially the president had indicated he would be willing to sign a clean C.R., or put his stamp of approval on that, if it passed the Senate before going to the House. Then we saw the outrage from people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and the president changed his mind saying, no, I need the money for the wall. Are they reacting to the speech yet?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": A couple of them are. Those right-wing hosts who were pushing the president to deliver a wall in December, they haven't given the president a way out of this situation now. They haven't provided a lot of ideas or proposed solutions. What we've seen from Ann Coulter is a lot of trashing of Trump, saying, we voted for Donald, we got Jeb instead. She is calling this amnesty. She is saying the president by providing to provide a temporary solution for some DREAMers --
CABRERA: Not a pathway to citizenship, mind you.
STELTER: No, but they're calling it amnesty. So is the anti-amnesty group, Numbers USA. In a statement from that group, a right-wing group, they've said, "An amnesty-for-wall trade would once again reward immigration law breakers without preventing future lawbreaking." They say the president is a loser for the forgotten American workers who were central to their promises. So that's from the right of the president's proposal.
[16:45:20] CABRERA: Symone, I know you wanted to get in on this?
SANDERS: I just -- look, I think that if the president really wants to negotiate, he has to pick up the phone and call Speaker Pelosi. He has to pick up the phone and call Leader Schumer and bring them back to the negotiating table. But stunts like this do not make Democratic lawmakers feel good. The president is essentially coming out, using his bully pulpit of the White House in an attempt to bully Democratic lawmakers into his deal. The president seems to have found Mitch McConnell and he's on board with this deal. But --
CABRERA: Sure, Symone, but he did have a meeting with some Democrats earlier this week, members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, is what they call themselves. There were a handful of Democrats in on that meeting, some of the new Democrats in Congress. People like Gonzalez, who has been there before. He's in the moderate district in Texas and has been someone in the past who has been willing to listen to the president on issues of immigration. As well as a new Democratic congressmember from Virginia who was there, a new Democratic congressmember from Minnesota who was listening in. So there have been some Democrats at the table.
SANDERS: Yes, some Democrats. The Problem Solvers Caucus has its own problems, and I don't think we have enough time to discuss here on this program. But Donald Trump wants to negotiate with all these people except the folks that will get his deal done. The people that will get his deal done are Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer. If he will not honestly and earnestly come to the table with, not platitudes, with not plans that Stephen Miller helped him cook up. If he's not willing to come to the table and say, look, I know I shut it down, I'll open it back up and let's have a real conversation about whether it's immigration reform or border security, that's what folks want here. Democrats have voted nine times to reopen the government in the House of Representatives. Mitch McConnell has refused to put any of those bills on the floor in the Senate. What is going on here?
STEWART: I think it's important to make sure that people understand the Democrats are the ones that have not been showing up for these meetings. The president's been there ready, willing and able to have the conversations. I think this is a good step to opening up the dialogue yet again. Brian makes a good point about how conservative media is responding to this. Some of them, if they didn't get this big beautiful wall they were promised, of course, they're going to be frustrated. I talked to members as this was unfolding, members of Congress, and the GOP members of Congress are supportive of this. I know the House Freedom Caucus is supportive of the idea of having this conversation, because they realize border security is so important. This president --
CABRERA: Sure, Democrats have said they'll reopen the government and then we can have these conversations.
I have to squeeze in another quick break. We're going to continue this conversation on the flip side. Stay with me. Our ongoing coverage of the president's announcement and where we are now in day 29 of the government shutdown. We'll be right back.
[16:52:23] CABRERA: Continuing our breaking news coverage, the president making remarks from the White House this afternoon, offering something to Democrats that he says he thinks may help the government reopen.
Reaction now pouring in from Capitol Hill and lawmakers. I want to read you what we have from Marco Rubio, a Senator who has been in favor of protections for DREAMers. And he writes, "I hope Democrats won't just automatically reject his offer. Demanding his unconditional surrender is not a reasonable position."
Symone, does he have a point?
SANDERS: No. Marco Rubio does not have a point. And at times, he doesn't have a spine. This is one of them. Donald Trump -- we just talked about it on the program. Donald Trump was fine passing, signing these continuing resolutions to fund these parts of the government that were shut down until Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh made a stink about it. I and many Democrats and non-Democrats and folks that don't identify with any party politically do not understand why he is shutting down the government and holding Americans hostage. You know how I think this ends? I think this ends when either TSA goes on a strike, and then everyone, the president included, is forced to say, fine, we'll open the government and talk about this later, or something catastrophic happens, I hope nothing catastrophic happens.
SANDERS: But something has to give. That something is President Trump and Mitch McConnell, because Democrats have said they would fund border security over and over and over again to the point where they sound like a broken record.
CABRERA: Here's the other thing. Here's the other thing, though. There were a handful of polls that have come out this week. The majority of Americans have said that the president is to blame for the shutdown, Republicans and the president, versus the Democrats. And not that Democrats don't carry any of the blame, but that's how it breaks down. The majority of Americans don't believe the border wall is the firm to the problems that -- with border security.
Alice, is the president listening to the majority of Americans?
STEWART: Clearly, he has been, Ana, because he is taking this step. I think, of course, the president acknowledged, I'll be willing to own this shutdown, if this were to continue. And until today, before he made an overture, I think it was on him. But now he's putting the ball back in the Democrats court to take action.
To Symone's point, why have we gotten to a point where a reasonable suggestion from Marco Rubio saying, at least give this an opportunity, why is that so ludicrous? Why can't we tell both sides, sit down and have the conversation. Neither side should expect their opponent to give an unconditional surrender. They should both come to the table and have these conversations. We're expecting both sides to give up without compromising anything, we're not going to make any progress.
[16:55:17] CABRERA: Thank you. I have to leave it there. I have to leave it there.
Symone, Alice, Mark and Brian, good to have you all with us.
And in just minutes, we have a Democratic congresswoman who's going to respond, live, right here on the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.
[17:00:01] CABRERA: It's just about 5:00 on the east coast, 2:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin this hour with breaking news. The president making a public offer to Democrats this afternoon.