President Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he was willing to make a concession to Democrats on funding for his border wall in order to strike a deal and reopen the government.
The government has been in a partial shutdown for 34 days, and is affecting about 800,000 federal employees directly.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that the president was willing to accept less than the $5.7 billion for border wall funding in a continuing resolution deal, as long as it contained a "down payment" for the wall.
Trump then addressed reporters on negotiations between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to reopen the government on a continuing budget resolution.
"Well one of the ideas suggested is they open it," Trump said, apparently referring to the government, "they pay a sort of a prorated down payment for the wall, which I think, people will agree, that you need."
"In fact I see a lot of the Democrats," he explained, "almost all of them are breaking and saying, 'look, walls are good, walls are good.' Big different from what you had two or three weeks ago."
The president also referred to other alternatives to seeking funding from Congress for his wall.
"Look, I have other alternatives if I have to," the president said. "And I'll use those alternatives if I have to. We want to go through the system. We have to have a wall in this country."
"Now Mitch is negotiating with Chuck Schumer and we'll see what happens," he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that she didn't understand what Trump was referring to with a "prorated" down payment for the border wall.
"I don't know if he knows what he's talking about, do you?" she responded.