CEDAR RAPIDS — Making his case for building a border wall in a national television address is something President Donald Trump “absolutely had to do,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said, “but I haven’t had enough conversations with people to know whether it changed the dial at all.”
In an Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday night, Trump alleged a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the United States-Mexico border.
Grassley said he can’t say how much the president’s address helped his cause, “but it can’t do any harm,” Grassley said Wednesday.
“I think he has a responsibility to get beyond his base to get the money he wants for the wall,” he said.
Finding agreement on the border wall should not be hard as it has become, Grassley said. He pointed to times when Senate Democrats, including current Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and former Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton voted for 700 miles of border fencing. Both Republican and Democrats have also supported proposals that called for $25 billion in border security, Grassley said.
“So if Democrats supported the fence in the past and it wasn’t immoral, why is it immoral now?” he said during his weekly conference call with Iowa reporters.
Grassley also pointed to past Republican support for DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — saying, “Why wouldn’t it be part of an agreement now?”
“It shouldn’t be so hard to find compromise. But obviously, people are stressed out on it and stretched out on it,” Grassley said. “People are dug in and, of course, we’ve got a president that Democrats don’t like.”
Talks ended abruptly Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, when Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional Democrats saying it was "a total waste of time."
The shutdown is nearly three weeks long, and about 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay.