Mulvaney: Trump is ‘really prepared’ to shut down the government despite outrage

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US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats on Friday reached a tentative deal to reopen the government for three weeks until February 15 while negotiations over border security and a spending package that includes the $5.7 billion the commander-in-chief has claimed is necessary to construct a "wall" along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Mulvaney said on Sunday he believed Trump is willing to shut down the government again if he does not reach a deal with Congress on border security.

"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 at the end of the day the president's commitment is to defend the nation, and he'll do it either with or without Congress", he said.

He said if he didn't get a fair deal from Congress, the government would shut down again on February 15 or he would use his executive authority to address what he has termed "the humanitarian and security crisis" on the southern US border.

"A three-week reprieve from the longest federal government shutdown in history does not go far enough to ease the anxiety and fears of more than one million dedicated federal workers, federal contract employees and their families", Robert Martinez Jr., president of Machinists Union International, said in a January 25 statement.

"Ultimately he'll be judged by what happens at the end of this process, not by what happened this week", Mulvaney said on Fox.

The White House denied on Sunday that Donald Trump "caved" to Democrats in reopening the federal government despite not receiving any funding for a border wall - a deal Trump had vowed he would never make.

The lynchpin in the standoff is Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his prized wall at the U.S. -Mexico border, a project Democrats consider an ineffective, wasteful monument to a ridiculous Trump campaign promise.

"Yeah I think he actually is", Mulvaney told CBS, asked whether Trump was prepared to repeat the shutdown.

Previously seen as a defining element to the Trump presidency, the failure of the United States leader to gain legislative or popular support for his border wall has provoked frustration and anger among the more conservative elements of the GOP, as well as having revealed a similar sentiment in poll results that show Trump's popularity in the nation declining significantly, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Mulvaney wouldn't directly answer whether Trump would take less than $5.7 billion, but indicated the president was willing to negotiate.

Trump has seemed flummoxed by the challenge to his authority of a powerful, self-assured woman, his approval ratings nosediving as Pelosi's have risen precipitously and public support for a wall has waned.

Trump says more border walls are needed to stop what he says are crisis levels of criminals and illegal immigration.

A portion of a letter sent to President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington.

"In the past, we have supported enhanced fencing and I think that's something that's reasonable that should be on the table", he said.

Mulvaney said they told Trump they couldn't split with Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and work with the White House if the government remained closed.

Democrats say his focus on the wall distracts from more complex immigration problems and is used to whip up his base for political gain.

The message was echoed by Mulvaney, who denied that Trump had lost the shutdown showdown to Democrats.

Some Republicans on Sunday waved Trump off potentially signing a declaration after 35 days of enduring criticism as he held firm.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., agreed. "I think it's a bad precedent".

"The negative impacts of this shutdown will continue to be felt by the scientific enterprise and our nation long after the government fully reopens, possibly for years", he added. "We want to go through the system".

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