President Trump has backed down from his demand that legislation to keep the government funded after this week include money to fund construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The decision is one that will likely help him avoid a government shutdown during his first few months in office. Trump initially pushed for the inclusion of border wall money in the continuing spending resolution that must pass by Friday to avoid a partial shutdown, but that prompted Democrats to say they would oppose any such language in the bill.
With the threat of a shutdown looming, press reports said Monday evening that Trump was admitting that funding for the border wall could be passed later this year. Tuesday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed on Fox News that the deadline might be able to slip even further, into next year.
"Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority for him, but we also know that can happen later this year and into next year," Conway said. "In the interim, you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security."
Trump had been noncommittal about whether he would sign a spending bill that didn't include funding for the border wall. On Monday, the administration seemed to lay the foundation for blaming Democrats for a partial government shutdown if they didn't agree to have funding for the wall in the bill.
But while the wall is popular among Trump's base, congressional Republicans don't rate it as a major issue and it has little to no support among Texas lawmakers.
Conway said that doesn't mean the wall — Trump's signature policy proposal during the campaign — is taking a backseat in his mind.
"The wall remains a very important priority for him," she said. "He also reminded people there's a flow of illegal immigrants over the border, but there's also a flow of drugs (that must stop)."