House Speaker Paul Ryan told guests at a private dinner party there was “no way” that President Donald Trump’s border wall would be built.
In fact, he said that he thought he knew only “one member” of the House who genuinely wanted to see a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, according to and exclusive story at Breitbart.
The dinner took place earlier this year on the eve of the House’s passage of two immigration bills three months ago. One of the bills dealt with sanctuary city reforms. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo) confirmed the details of the dinner.
“Ryan told a group of Republicans he met with … that only one person wants a wall,” Tancredo told Breitbart News.
Tancredo said he disagreed with Ryan’s assessment that “only one” lawmaker supported the wall.
“Of course he means only one person in his entourage and of the leadership,” he said. “I know several people in Congress who want a wall and I know that there are millions of Americans who want a wall.”
“You have to understand the level of fear that exists in the Republican establishment about this issue,” he said. “The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want a wall … the pressure is greater from the Chamber of Commerce than it is from the members. That’s the basic problem. It was then. It is now.”
Another House GOP member confirmed to the news outlet that Ryan made a similar remark to them, but said the Speaker was merely trying to encapsulate the difficulty in getting anything passed in the House.
“All this narrative serves to inform is that Ryan’s is making a point of listening to Members and that Members mostly are trying to listen to each other. I believe it is true that support for the wall is not as strong as it needs to be among House Republicans,” the House member told Breitbart.
That member said that funding the wall is the hardest part. On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump assured his supporters that Mexico would pay for the wall, but the funding currently would be coming from the taxpayers. He said lack of knowledge is the biggest obstacle, though.
“Another thing I have noticed is that Members’ knowledge and opinions on immigration seem to only be traceable back to their arrival in Congress. Not many brought much experience or knowledge on the topic with them. 64% swore in January 2011 or later. They only know that which was debated in the Obama era. Some are Never Trumpers,” he said. “We have work to do.”
Tancredo was pessimistic the congressional Republican leadership can be easily brought on board with the immigration agenda of the president and the party’s conservative wing. According to him, Ryan, who was caught on tape after the emergence of the now-infamous Access Hollywood recording of the President saying he was, “not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” would rather lose elections to Democrats than seriously address the issue of illegal aliens.
“Ryan and the Senate Majority Leader [Mitch McConnell] would rather have had Hillary than Donald Trump for that very reason,” Tancredo told Breitbart News. “They failed at stopping him and now they’re going to have to stop him legislatively.”