Trump's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made an appearance on this weekend's Fox News Sunday, and was asked by guest host John Roberts what we can expect if Trump doesn't get enough money for his border wall in the next spending bill that will be required to keep the government open beyond the new February 15th deadline.
Mulvaney promised another round of hostage taking, refusing to rule out the possibility of another Trump shutdown. Mulvaney was also asked about the possibility of Trump declaring a national emergency, which Mulvaney would not rule out either, even though he said he'd prefer they get legislation passed.
ROBERTS: Would you recommend another shut down to the president if there's no deal by February the 15th?
MULVANEY: Look, we look at it going backwards. What do we need to protect the country? And we need border security and that includes a barrier. Keep in mind, lost in all this other request that we made for things like more technology and improving ports of entry, all of the things that go into the --
ROBERTS: But would you recommend he shut down the government again?
MULVANEY: No one wants the government shutdown, John. It's not a desired end, but when the president vetoes a bill that is put in front of him on a spending package, sometimes that has the effect of shutting the government down. We don't go into this trying to shut the government down.
ROBERTS: He also threatened an emergency declaration and use money that's already appropriated to build the wall. OMB, which you used to head and still officially do, has been looking around for pots of money.
How much money did you find to build a wall?
MULVANEY: More than $5.7 billion. The president told us several months ago to try to find money in every nook and cranny, he told every member of the cabinet to do the exact same. OMB has been working on this for several months now and there's a lot more than a $5.7 billion.
It's better, John, to get it through legislation. That's the right way to do it, but at the end of the day, the president is going to secure the border one way or another.
ROBERTS: So, when the president comes to you and says, Mick, should I declare an emergency if you don't money for a wall and you don't want to shut down the government, would you recommend he'd do that? Because it would certainly almost immediately be adjoined by the courts and most likely a court in the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit of Appeals, and that could be playing his last card.
MULVANEY: We are just as aware of all of those contingencies as you just laid out as everybody else's, so there is ways we can try to mitigate those risks. We certainly will. There were some pots of money that are easier to get to than to others.
So, again, this is not something we are shooting off at the hip. We've been working on this for months.
We have been hoping for months to do it through legislation with Democrats because that's the right way for the government to function, but the end of the day, the president's commitment is to defend the nation and he will do it either with or without Congress.
We'll see how much of a stomach Republican members of the Senate have for this nonsense once the deadline starts drawing closer.