Mulvaney: Trump offering Democrats a steel border fence instead of concrete wall

Mulvaney said the president's gesture is "evidence of our willingness to solve" the weeks-long government shutdown.

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By Ben Kamisar

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Saturday that President Trump’s willingness to “take a concrete wall off the table” is proof of Trump’s “desire to try and resolve” the government shutdown.

Speaking during an interview on "Meet the Press" set to air Sunday, Mulvaney said that Trump has told Democrats he'd settle for a steel fence on the border instead of the concrete wall he's long described as his vision.

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“That came up the other day in the private meeting with the ‘Big Eight’ as they call the leaders in the House and the Senate—Republicans, Democrats—that he was willing to agree, and he mentioned this again at the Rose Garden press conference, to take a concrete wall off the table,” Mulvaney said during an interview with “Meet the Press” set to air in full on Sunday.

Mulvaney went on to call the proposal “evidence of our willingness to solve the problem.”

“If he has to give up a concrete wall, replace it with a steel fence in order to do that so that Democrats can say, ‘See? He’s not building a wall anymore,’ that should help move us in the right direction.”

Saturday marks day 15 of the partial government shutdown that began when Congress and the White House could not agree to reauthorize funding for several key federal agencies over a disagreement over whether to fund a border wall.

Lawmakers and their aides have met with the White House numerous times in recent days and into the weekend, but have struggled to find common ground.

Tune in on Sunday for more from the conversation with Mulvaney, as well as interviews with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Click here to see what time “Meet the Press” airs in your local area.