The White House is seeking to exploit potential fissures in the Democratic caucus as the fight over the partial government shutdown continues, two administration officials familiar with the strategy tell The Daily Caller.
Officials point to the number of Democratic lawmakers newly elected to Congress who reside in districts that supported President Donald Trump in 2016, reside in places along the border or had small margins of victory.
The White House strategy comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintains an absolutist position that Democrats will not negotiate with Trump over funding for a proposed wall along the U.S. southern border. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion in funding for the wall with Democratic leaders saying they’ll only offer $1.6 billion.
The resulting disagreement has led to the longest lapse in federal funds in U.S. history, with the president convening several meetings at the White House to no avail. The White House has offered several options to Democratic leaders which would end the shutdown, but have not moved off their $5.7 billion request.
Talks screeched to a halt last week when Trump asked Pelosi point blank in the White House Situation Room whether she would negotiate over border wall funds if he re-opened the government. After Pelosi replied that she would not, Trump said “bye bye” and walked out. (RELATED: Democratic Rep. Katie Hill Says She Would Fund Border Barrier, Blames Impasse On ‘Semantics’)
Pelosi’s position has some Democrats squirming. “I have talked to other Democrats … a lot of these moderate Democrats see that it has gone on way too long,” Republican Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman said Monday, adding that one colleague told him, “I just wish you said physical barrier and not ‘wall’ … and then we could vote for it.”
Riggleman said to TheDC’s Editorial Director Vince Coglianese, “If we’re down to that point, that means the Democratic leadership is doing something very political over there. You’re starting to see rumblings on the Democratic side.”
While the White House is trying to court moderate Democrats, Trump is now exploring funding options to begin construction on the wall, including the declaration of a national emergency.