"Somebody on staff gave him really bad advice", Graham told reporters.
He also pointed to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller as being one of the obstacles in preventing a bipartisan agreement on immigration. Jeff Sessions who joined the Trump transition team in 2016, has long held hardline views on immigration. "And I think we're never going to get there as long as we embrace concepts that can not possibly get 60 votes".
While many Senate Democrats had remained entrenched in their opposition to any funding deal that didn't include a DACA fix, a growing number of moderate lawmakers were wary of an extended shutdown fight. However, he believes some White House staffers are making it very hard to reach an agreement and resolve the issue that is now hurting hundreds of thousands of federal employees, low-wage federal contractors, security guards, janitors and military families. Some 58 percent say that Trump's "shithole" comments were racist; that stubborn 35 percent says they were not.
"Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members", Mr Graham lamented, adding that though he does "enjoy working with them", White House staff like Mr Miller are "making it very hard".
"The White House fired back, using the same word to describe Graham in a Washington version of 'I know you are, but what am I?"
'As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere, ' Republican Sen.
After a brief weekend shutdown, Congress on Monday voted to fund the government until February 8 - which will be the new deadline for any agreement between the parties on immigration and other outstanding issues. Most of the endangered Democrats who are up for re-election in 2018 in states that Trump won all voted to advance the measure, except for Montana Sen. "They're not going to be locked down by thinking about what the House might do or what the White House might do". The Graham-Durbin proposal would also allow parents of young [aliens] to apply for a renewable legal status - but not a path to citizenship. The two men were joined only by their chiefs of staff. Schumer said he left optimistic that they were on the cusp of a deal, before Kelly called later to nix it.
"First and foremost we have to reopen our government".
His next task -- an immigration deal that President Donald Trump is willing to sign -- has the potential to be tough, frustrating and elusive.
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The White House has defended Miller from the attacks. "I don't think it will change".
Kelly has established his own hard-line bona fides on the immigration. "I do not see how a vague promise from the Senate Majority Leader about a vague policy to be voted on in the future helps the Dreamers or maximizes leverage".
"Any effort to kill immigration reform usually has Mr. Miller's fingerprints on it", Durbin said earlier this month.
Senate leaders reached a deal to take up an immigration bill that would address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and border security in order to reopen the government on Monday.
Trump announced in September the government would stop considering new applications for the program.
"The Gang of Six started the process", Graham said. Kelly used the term "physical barrier" instead, and described a combination of walls, fencing and surveillance technology. They told him he'd be better off on the sidelines, encouraging lawmakers to come to an agreement themselves.
"Unfortunately, we can not answer your call today because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding - including funding for our troops and other national security priorities - hostage to an unrelated immigration debate". Miller is now one of Trump's top negotiators on immigration.
"Stephen Miller is technically involved, without any doubt", King said.
"Look, this is the president's agenda". "The President I saw on Tuesday is the guy I play golf with".