The White House’s wish list once comprised a sweeping infrastructure measure, overhauling the federal welfare program, another try at tax cuts and an immigration bill. But now, only the final item makes the list with the midterm elections fast approaching.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders essentially drove a dagger through the other items Friday, listing only an immigration bill when asked to lay out the White House’s 2018 legislative agenda.
There is “still some movement on that front,” she said. “We’d love for Congress to actually show up and do their jobs. ... It’s been a constant priority for the president.” She did not, however, mention that Trump helped nix a bipartisan Senate immigration measure.
The press secretary described what the White House envisions as a measure that would address things such as enhancing border security, closing “loopholes” in existing immigration laws, and addressing the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. But the president in recent weeks has been more limited, at times calling for just a border security measure.
Meantime, while Sanders went limited in describing the 2018 agenda, she went broad when laying out Trump’s goal for his planned summit next month with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Trump’s objective is a deal that brings about the North’s “total denuclearization,” she told reporters. But she would not say whether Trump believes securing a deal to achieve that is possible in the short time — about a day-and-a-half — the two leaders will be together.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit the White House on May 22 for talks with President Donald Trump ahead of the planned Kim Jong Un summit, Sanders said.
Sanders also had to take questions on yet another scandal that distracted from the White House’s message. This time it was communications aide Kelly Sadler reportedly saying during a private meeting that Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain’s opposition to the president’s CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, might not matter due to his declining health.
White House officials, including Sanders and Trump, have refused to say Sadler never uttered the remarks. Nor have they issued an official apology. (Sadler reportedly called the Arizona Republican’s daughter to apologize.)
Sanders declined to comment when asked about the remark. Instead, she chose to slam the White House aide who leaked details of the meeting.
As of Friday afternoon, Sadler was still employed by the White House, according to Sanders.