President Trump concluded a weekend of meetings with Republican congressional leaders in Camp David on Sunday, agreeing on priorities such as increased military spending and a mid-term electoral strategy, but facing tough opposition from Democrats to any immigration amnesty solution linked to the financing of a border wall.
The president said he had "transformative" meetings on issues including infrastructure spending, the amnesty program for young illegal immigrants known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and "the wall desperately needed."
Mr. Trump discussed with Republican lawmakers his strategy for midterm elections, with the president saying he will not campaign for any Republican insurgent who challenges Republicans in the primaries.
"I do not see that happening," Trump said. .
He pointed to the lesson of the Senate's special election last month in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones. Trump supported Mr. Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct by several women, at the behest of strategist strategist Steve Bannon.
"You had someone who lost the state of Alabama," Mr. Trump said. he told reporters. "That should never have been lost, we have the right policy, we have everything right, you still need a good candidate, you do not have a good candidate, you're just not going to win."
The president's party normally loses seats in the midterm elections. In the first midterm elections of President Obama in 2010, after Congress approved Obamacare, Democrats lost 63 seats in the House (and control of the House) and also lost six seats in the Senate. The gains of even half that size in 2018 would change each chamber in favor of the Democrats.
Karl Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, said on Sunday that Republicans are in "big trouble" in the midterms, saying that Mr. Trump's approval rating "is in his 30s."
"The Republicans have 24 seats in the House far from losing the majority," Rove said on "Fox News Sunday." "As a result, I think so." We're going to see two Republican agendas in 2018. We're going to look at the unified Republican agenda, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House, which will focus on infrastructure and maybe a DACA agreement and a couple of other things. And then we're going to see a Republican House agenda that addresses things like poverty and welfare and reform so that members have the ability to go home and say we approve it, vote and now it's & # 39; ; bollixed & # 39; & # 39; Up in the Senate. "
Mr. Trump said he will be" very involved "in the campaign by the Republicans.
" Protecting the owners and whoever they have to protect. But we need more Republicans, "said the president." I will work for the headlines and for anyone else who has my kind of thinking. We are going to make many trips. "
Camp David's agenda included a long list of issues of great importance, from national security and infrastructure to the budget and mid-term electoral strategy for 2018. Democrats do not They were included in the discussions, although Republican leaders said they believe the Democrats will cooperate more this year.
"We hope 2018 will be a year of greater bipartisan cooperation," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. He told reporters.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said his spending plans on infrastructure and beefing up the military should appeal "to everyone in the middle: Democrats and Republicans. , independent. "
Mr. Trump emerged from weekend discussions at the presidential retreat in Maryland declaring he will not sign legislation that protects some 800,000 young people called "Dreamers" who were illegally brought to the United States as children unless Congress agrees to finance the wall along the border with Mexico. as well as review the legal immigration system. He is looking for $ 18 billion in funds from the border wall.
"We want the wall," said Mr. Trump. "The wall will happen or we will not have DACA".
Last year the president put an end to the deferred action program for childhood arrivals of the Obama administration, which protected Dreamers from deportation and gave them the right to work legally in the country. Mr. Trump gave Congress until March to find a solution.
The top Democrats in Congress rated the president's demands on Sunday as uninitiated.
"The idea of spending $ 18 billion on a wall that most people think will not do what it says it will do, does not make any sense," Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont, told ABC this week. "What we have to do, it seems to me, is to approve the dreamer's legislation, which protects and provides legal status for these young people."
He said Congress could work on comprehensive immigration reform, including stricter border security, "later."
Senator. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat, called the president's funding request "scandalous" and said he may be trying to bring the government to a close.
Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican and White House ally on immigration policy, said in "This week" that immigration legislation should also address the end of "chain migration" between family members and a lottery program Diversity visas "to stop unqualified immigration This country."
"I hope the Democrats get out of their irrational bargaining position and are willing to compromise," Cotton said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said a fragmented approach to border security will not solve the country's problems with illegal immigration.
"If we do not address security and chain migration, we will return with a DACA problem in a few years and that is the wrong thing for the United States," said the California Republican. he said on Fox News. "We need to maintain the rule of legal judgment with those individuals who were brought here because of no fault of their own, but in reality they have border security, so it will not happen again."
• S.A. Miller and Bradford Richardson contributed to this report.