NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Heading into a delicate month with nothing short of the daily operations of the federal government at stake and with a potential fiscal crisis looming, the leader of the free world is attacking the leaders in Congress.
The White House is standing firm. President Donald Trump wants the border wall.
"He campaigned on the wall. He won on talking about building the wall and he's going to make sure that that gets done," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "We're going to continue to push forward and make sure that the wall gets built."
The commander in chief is threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn't pay up, insisting taxpayers foot the bill. That is very different from the campaign promise that Mexico would pick up the tab.
The spending standoff comes as Trump attacks GOP leaders in Congress. On Twitter, Trump scolded House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for bungling the debt-limit talks, calling it a "mess." But Ryan is looking to downplay the divide.
"We're working together to move that shared agenda," Ryan said. "For me, it's really important that the president succeeds."
The president yet again ripped McConnell on social media for his handling of the Obamacare repeal. But back home in Kentucky, McConnell mostly praised Trump with this being the closest he got to criticism: "I'm a little concerned about some trade rhetoric, not only by the president who succeeded but by people running against him."
This tension comes as the West Wing is diving into another divisive issue: whether transgender people have the right to serve in the armed forces. Reports indicate the president will instruct the Pentagon to stop admitting trans people into the military. That possibility drew swift criticism from VoteVets, a liberal-leaning activist group for veterans.
The White House insisted the president and leaders in the House and Senate will meet after Labor Day. Members will have just a few weeks after returning from August recess to come up with a spending solution to avoid a politically unpopular government shutdown.