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White House disputes Schumer, Pelosi's border wall claim

FOX News logo FOX News 9/14/2017 Edmund DeMarche
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Well, at least that's solved.

Two top Democrats emerged Wednesday from dinner at the White House with President Donald Trump saying the meal was “very productive."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that Trump agreed to protect so-called "Dreamers" and agreed to terms on border security -- "excluding the wall."

Shortly after their statement, the White House issued one of its own. Trump indeed had a productive meal with the Democrats, but the exclusion of the border wall "was certainly not agreed to."

Pelosi's Twitter account still has a pinned tweet that reads: "Trump’s cowardice is on full display today. His cruelty must not stand! #ProtectDREAMERS."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier Wednesday that Trump was “committed to the wall. It doesn’t have to be tied to DACA, but it's important and he will get it done.” (DACA refers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program through which the children of illegal immigrants have been allowed to stay in the U.S.)

Matt House, Schumer’s communications director, responded on Twitter: “The President made clear he would continue pushing the wall, just not as part of this agreement.”

The New York Times cited a White House official who said Trump pushed for border wall funding at the meeting.

Beside the border wall issue, the Democrats said Trump agreed to enshrine protections for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids who had benefited from the DACA program.

Trump ended the program earlier this month and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the statuses of the so-called Dreamers begin to expire.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who also sat down with Pelosi to talk immigration Wednesday, said in an interview that deporting the so-called Dreamers was “not in our nation’s interest,” and said the president had “made the right call.”

“I wanted him to give us time. I didn’t want this to be rescinded on Day One and create chaos,” Ryan said, arguing the time would allow Congress to “come up with the right kind of consensus and compromise to fix this problem.”

The dinner took place in the White House’s Blue Room, sources told Fox News. The Congress members sat at a rectangular table with Trump at the head with Pelosi to his right, and Schumer to his left. Eleven people were in the room, sources said. The first half-hour addressed trade issues with China.

The meeting between the three came shortly after Trump overruled congressional Republicans and cut a deal with Democrats to raise the federal debt ceiling for three months. Some conservatives criticized the deal as a capitulation by Trump.

Trump, however, appears to see bipartisanship as a key to get legislation out of the starting gate.

“More and more we’re trying to work things out together,” Trump explained Wednesday, calling the development a “positive thing” for both parties.

“Some of the greatest legislation ever passed, it was done on a bipartisan manner. And so that is why we’re going to give it a shot,” Trump said.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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