Trump's Chief of Staff Says 'Absolutely Cannot' Rule Out Another Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding at End of the Week

President Donald Trump's acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney warned on Sunday that another government shutdown at the end of the week is possible, saying that it "absolutely cannot" be ruled out.

Mulvaney, who also serves as Trump's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, appeared Sunday on NBC News program Meet the Press with host Chuck Todd to discuss ongoing negotiations over border security between Congressional leaders and the administration. The president's acting chief of staff said that the administration was holding firm on its demands for strict border security.

"Whether or not [Trump] gets $1.6 billion from Congress, whether or not he gets $2.5 billion or $5.7 billion, he's going to do whatever he legally can to secure that border," Mulvaney said.

Todd asked Mulvaney directly if the country could "definitively rule out a government shutdown at the end of this week?"

"You absolutely cannot," the top Trump aide replied.

Mulvaney also told Todd that whether or not lawmakers and Trump are close to reaching a deal to keep the government funded "depends on who you listen to." However, he said that the administration is "still participating" in negotiations. "We're still listening, we're still talking, but we're not leading the negotiations," he said.

Last month, Trump finally signed a bipartisan budget to keep the government fully funded after the longest partial shutdown in United States history. The president forced the shutdown after refusing to sign essentially the same budget before Christmas because it did not include $5.7 billion in funding to construct a wall the southern border of the U.S. with Mexico. Critics of the proposal, including some Republicans, have consistently pointed out that the wall would not be an effective means of addressing illegal immigration, crime or drug trafficking as the president has argued.

Regardless, Trump kept the shutdown going for 35-days, leaving 800,000 federal workers without paychecks through the holidays and well into the new year. The move had a negative economic impact, with analysts estimating that billions of dollars were lost while growth slowed. The president inevitably signed a bipartisan budget as air traffic was disrupted by the shutdown, but the measure only funded the government for three weeks as negotiations over border security continued.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have both signaled that they want to avoid another shutdown. But the Trump administration, as Mulvaney again stated on Sunday, is not ruling out the possibility.

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President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Numerous polls of the American public have shown that voters do not approve of government shutdowns and blame the president for the most recent one. Other polls have shown that the majority of Americans do not believe a border wall will solve the issues on the southern border.

Lawmakers in the border state of Texas have also criticized Trump's demand and characterization of the situation. Speaking to CNN's S.E. Cupp on Saturday evening, the Republican mayor of the border city of El Paso, Dee Margo, said that the president's assessment that his city was safer after a barrier was built was "not factually correct." He also pointed out that "the geography of Texas won't allow a fence from El Paso to Brownsville even if you wanted to do it."

Democratic Representative Vincente Gonzalez from Texas made similar comments on MSNBC. "There's not a single border community amongst the highest crime rates … His rhetoric is based on fallacy he's fed to his right-wing base" he said.

Trump's Chief of Staff Says 'Absolutely Cannot' Rule Out Another Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding at End of the Week | U.S.