Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that President Trump's dealings with Democrats shouldn't surprise anyone, adding that “Washington needs to wake up” and understand the president is looking for the "best deal."
Spicer, speaking with "Fox & Friends," was responding to unrest among conservatives over Trump's negotiations with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The trio struck a deal last week for a short-term government funding package and debt-ceiling increase. And earlier this week, they began laying the groundwork for a possible deal to help so-called "Dreamers."
“I don’t think this is a news flash—this president is a deal maker. He got things done,” said Spicer, who is returning to the media spotlight after resigning his White House post in July. “He made very clear during the campaign that he is a CEO businessman that knew how to strike a good deal when he saw it, and he’s going to do what’s in the best interest of this country when he can get a good deal.”
Spicer added: “If it’s going to be with Republicans, it’s going to be with Republicans. If it’s with Democrats, it’s with Democrats. If it’s with a bipartisan group of individuals, it’s going to be them—but it shouldn’t be any kind of a surprise that he’s going to make the best deal possible at every turn.”
Trump held a dinner meeting at the White House on Wednesday with Schumer and Pelosi, discussing what to do about the young illegal immigrants who had been spared from deportation from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump is reversing that executive action, but is open to legislation that achieves similar goals.
Pelosi and Schumer called the dinner “very productive,” and said that they had “agreed to a plan to work out an agreement to protect our nation’s DREAMers from deportation.” The president stated Thursday that “no deal was made” but indicated they're getting close.
The president has publicly voiced concern about the fate of DACA recipients. While Trump is ending the program, he put the onus back on Congress to pass a legislative alternative.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump tweeted Thursday. “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own—brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.”
Spicer said Friday that despite the president’s willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to get a deal on immigration, his priority is getting the border wall built.
“He has a big heart. He understands the magnitude of this problem when it comes to immigration, but President Trump has made the wall a huge priority,” Spicer said. “Like it or not, I don’t see how you get a deal done that doesn’t include the wall because that’s been a major priority of this president.”
Spicer added: “He’s going to get the best deal that he can, he’s gonna negotiate, that’s what he’s always done, and I think at the end of the day his priorities are part of any deal that gets made.”