President Donald Trump’s critics have blamed him for trapping the government in shutdown mode over his demands for billions in border wall money, but one lawmaker argued he was the most rational person involved in the negotiations.
In a “Meet the Press” interview Sunday, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) praised Trump as an even-keeled dealmaker, pinning the blame for the shutdown on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) instead.
″I watched the president in every one of these meetings offer a reasonable solution,” he told host Chuck Todd. “I watched Speaker Pelosi sit there and would not negotiate with anything, so I give President Trump a lot of credit. He put the American people before politics.”
Todd then pointed out that the president gave in only after 35 days, wondering what was actually achieved given that the proposal he signed mirrored the one offered on the shutdown’s first day.
Still, McCarthy circled back to his defense of Trump, contending that the president was making offers while Pelosi remained obstinate, refusing to indulge his ideas.
“So when you think about 35 days,” McCarthy said, “we’ve got 35 days of Speaker Pelosi not negotiating and the president finally said, ‘This is too much.’”
Pushing back on the congressman’s narrative, Todd reminded him that Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency. But McCarthy falsely claimed “that is not true,” calling the president “the only one who has been reasonable in these negotiations.”
Earlier this month, Trump made headlines for that exact threat.
On Jan. 10, he was quoted as having said: “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I’m not prepared to do that yet but if I have to I will. ... I may do it.”
The government is reopening for at least three weeks as Democrats and Republicans face a time crunch during which they must come to an agreement on how to proceed regarding Trump’s border security plan.
If the impasse is not broken, the government shutdown could resume on Feb. 16.