The federal government is reopening after a 35-day partial shutdown — but if Congress comes back in three weeks with a plan that does not include the $5.7 billion that President Donald Trump wants for his proposed wall “or at least some percentage of that, he has threatened to let the government shut down again or declare a national emergency to bypass Congress,” as Fox News’ John Roberts noted on Sunday morning on “Fox News Sunday.”
The president’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney joined him to discuss the latest developments.
Roberts, sitting in for anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday, asked Mulvaney bluntly, “So, did the president cave to Democrats?”
It seems, Roberts added, that “a lot of Democrats think that he capitulated here because he really came away from 35 days of a government shutdown with nothing more than he could’ve had at least two weeks ago, when Sen. [Lindsey] Graham (R-S.C.) proposed the same thing — and maybe even back to before this whole thing started.”
“No,” Mulvaney replied.
“I think what you’ve seen here is the president seeing an opportunity … Why he did what he did was because many Democrats have come to us, some of them privately. Many of them spoke out publicly that they are actually starting to agree with him on the necessity for a barrier on the southern border, and they had come to us and said, ‘Look, we agree with you, you’re winning the battle on the importance of a barrier on the southern border, but we simply cannot work with you'” while the government is closed.
Mulvaney added that’s a “marked difference from where the Democrat leadership was, where they said they wouldn’t talk to us about border security ever. Nancy Pelosi famously said that even if we open the government, she wouldn’t give us a single dollar for the wall. So I think the president saw a chance here to try to take the Democrats at their word.”
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He also noted that “some of the rank and file, also some of the leadership — Dick Durbin [the Democrat senator from Illinois] — said some decent things about border barrier. Jim Clyburn, my former colleague from South Carolina, said that the experts thought we really needed a barrier, [and that] he could vote for it.”
“She [Pelosi] actually just voted for almost a quarter billion dollars for a barrier on the southern border with this deal that just got approved last week.”
Mulvaney said Democrats should be given “a chance” “to prove whether or not they really do believe in border security and are willing to go against Nancy Pelosi — or whether or not they are so beholden to their leadership that they are never going to vote for a barrier on the southern border. ”
Mick Mulvaney says many democrats agreed on a barrier on the Southern Border pic.twitter.com/kGK5yG1hYS
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) January 27, 2019
After other questions from Roberts, Mulvaney that he “laughs” sometimes when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “says there’s no money for the wall. She actually just voted for almost a quarter billion dollars for a barrier on the southern border with this deal that just got approved last week.”
“But I think what we simply do,” he added, “is go to the Democrats and say, ‘Look, are you telling the people the truth? When you look at your constituents back home and say you agree with the president that we have to do something about security at the southern border, are you telling the truth, or are just doing something that’s politically expedient?'”
Mulvaney also promised, “At the end of the day, the president is going to secure the border one way or another.”