Republicans are urging President Trump to step back, for now, from the negotiations to prevent a second partial government shutdown.
The president is offering a running, real-time commentary about the conference committee tasked with breaking the months-long stalemate between the White House and congressional Democrats, frustrating lawmakers who worry Trump is complicating already difficult talks.
In a tweet on Thursday, Trump warned that Republicans on the panel might be “wasting their time.”
He later added during a rollercoaster White House appearance before reporters that he “won’t even look” at a deal that didn’t including funding for his wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
GOP senators say Trump should stick to the sidelines and let the bipartisan group of appropriators, known for their ability to cut deals, get to work.
“I think it would be more worthwhile and effective if the president would allow some space for these negotiations to occur and not be doing commentary at this point,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he hoped Trump’s skepticism was “wrong” and that the president was just “trying to set expectations low.”
Asked if the president should give negotiators some space, Thune added: “I think it’s good to let them do their thing and see what they can come up with.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), asked about Trump’s belief that Republicans are wasting their time, said she was trying to “urge success” and that the conference committee should “be empowered to do their work.”