'Heads I Win—Tails I Win': Nancy Pelosi Can't Lose Battle With Trump on State of the Union, Top Washington Lawyer Says

A former vice presidential chief of staff has suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already won the federal shutdown battle against President Donald Trump, having put herself in a "win-win" position.

Ron Klain is now a top Washington, D.C. lawyer, having previously served as the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, an associate counsel in the Clinton administration, and chief of staff to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden.

Read More: Nancy Pelosi tells Donald Trump his State of the Union Address should be postponed if government shutdown continues

Speaking with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on the Deadline: White House program Wednesday, Klain discussed the ongoing debate about Trump's State of the Union Address, which Pelosi has urged the president to postpone amid the government shutdown crisis.

"I do think this is a smart move by Speaker Pelosi to deny Trump the platform he wants," Klain said. "But worth noting, when President Trump gave that nationally televised address on immigration, it was the Democratic response that got higher ratings and more poll approval.

"So I think she's got a 'heads I win, tails I win' situation here where she denies Trump this platform. I think whatever Trump does, her response will be just as effective, if not more effective, than whatever the president says," Klain explained.

The government shutdown—the longest in U.S. history—has left more than 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or working without pay. Many have already missed one paycheck, and dismay is building across the country as vital services wither on the vine.

Pelosi has argued for a delay to the State of the Union Address—or for it to be delivered in writing—suggesting underfunded security services will not be able to provide adequate protection for the event.

The dispute centers on border security, specifically Trump's proposed wall along the southern border. The president wants $5.7 billion released to partially fund the barrier, but Democratic leaders including Pelosi have dismissed the proposal. Negotiations between the parties have thus far failed to break the impasse.

The president—who took ownership of the shutdown in a belligerent televised meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in December—has been trying to shift the blame for the shutdown onto Democrats. But polls suggest most Americans blame Trump and the Republican party for the crisis.

"Look, really just cut to the bottom line and Nancy Pelosi ought to invite Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh to give the State of the Union because they're the people who are going to decide when the government opens again, as long as they tell Trump he's a wuss to open the government, that's where we're going to be," Klain joked.

House Democrats have twice tried to pass bills to end the shutdown, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to consider any legislation that does not have Trump's backing—i.e. anything that does not provide his wall.

Nancy Pelosi state of the union shutdown
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi answers questions during her weekly press conference on January 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images
'Heads I Win—Tails I Win': Nancy Pelosi Can't Lose Battle With Trump on State of the Union, Top Washington Lawyer Says | U.S.