Congressional leaders received a briefing from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis while they visited the White House for negotiations.
“The President’s meeting with Congressional leadership moved from the Oval Office to the Situation Room where they are all receiving an update on our military by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The situation room is a secure installation inside the White House that serves as a military and intelligence nerve center for the president, and also allows for classified conversations to take place. The room was first installed by President John F. Kennedy during the cold war in 1961.
It is unclear what the specifics of the briefing were, but during remarks to the press before the meeting, Mattis said: “The number-one priority for our country is to make certain we protect this Constitution and our way of life.”
“We’ve got great bipartisan support. I’m confident we’ll walk out of this with it,” Mattis said.
Trump said he had invited Mattis to join the meeting given “what’s going on in the world.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were at the White House for budget negotiations ahead of a Friday deadline.
Trump described them as a “well-unified group.”
“We hope we can come to an agreement. Funding the government is extremely important, helping our soldiers is very important, and helping average citizens is very important,” said Schumer.
“So we’re here in the spirit of: let’s get it done.”
Last week Schumer and Pelosi declined to visit the White House after Trump had tweeted that they were far away from reaching a deal.
Part of Trump’s demands for the budget are an increase in military spending. Trump has said he wants to improve the U.S. military after years of spending cuts.
The strategy of “peace through strength” is a key part of his approach to foreign policy, including the response to the nuclear weapons threat from North Korea.
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