Trump has slowly been changing his tune on the concrete wall that, thanks to some recent reporting in The New York Times, we all know was never actually even supposed to be an literal wall, but was something his advisors came up with to keep him focused on bashing "illegal immigration." He's more concerned about looking foolish if he gives an inch and works with the Democrats to reopen the government than the damage being done by the shutdown, and he's already proven he's incapable of negotiating with anyone in good faith, and that he'll turn on a dime if his base gets angry with him.
His acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was sent out to do some damage control for Trump on the Sunday shows this weekend, and was asked about exactly that by Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, and whether there will ever be another DACA deal on the table when you've got people like Lindsey Graham claiming it will be the end of his presidency and ranting about never giving into the "radical left."
When Todd asked Mulvaney what Trump was willing to offer in negotiations to Democrats, Mulvaney cited Trump finally accepting the reality that he's never going to have a concrete wall built across our entire southern border. So much for him supposedly being some sort of master deal maker:
CHUCK TODD: Here's one thing though that I didn't hear throughout our entire interview.
MICK MULVANEY: That's probably because you didn't ask.
CHUCK TODD: What is the president offering the Democrats? What's the offer on their side? Right now it only is clear what the president wants.
MICK MULVANEY: Let me tell you what -- because 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, was that he was willing to agree, and he mentioned this at the Rose Garden press conference, to take a concrete wall off the table. That is -- if that is not evidence of our willingness to solve the problem, okay, because again, what's driving this is the president's desire to change the conditions at the border. And 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 us move in --
CHUCK TODD: So you want the headline --
MICK MULVANEY: -- the right direction.
CHUCK TODD: -- to be, "The president no longer wants a wall. He wants a fence"?
MICK MULVANEY: The president is going to secure the border with a barrier.
CHUCK TODD: Would he say it --
MICK MULVANEY: You call it a wall.
CHUCK TODD: -- that way? Would he say it --
MICK MULVANEY: Somebody else calls it a fence.
CHUCK TODD: Is he comfortable saying, "No, not going to have the wall. And by the way, Mexico's never paying for it"?
MICK MULVANEY: I think he said yesterday it was going to be a 30 foot high steel -- he actually tweeted a picture out of it two weeks ago. We’ve -- and we told the Democrats this two weeks ago. "This is what we want to build. Do you think this is a wall?" Actually, under the way the law is written right now, technically, it's not a wall. But if that's not evidence of the president's desire to try and resolve this, I don't know what is.
Trump has no desire to solve anything, and he already knew he wasn't going to get his concrete wall. And he's never going to admit that Mexico isn't going to pay for it. But rather than press Mulvaney about any of that, Todd simply ended the interview and thanked Mulvaney for coming on.