Trump Ended Shutdown Because Democrats Told Him He Was 'Winning the Battle' Over the Wall, Mick Mulvaney Claims

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed President Donald Trump decided to go back on his previous pledge not to reopen the government without funding for his border wall because Democrats said he was "winning the battle."

During a segment on Fox News Sunday, fill-in host John Roberts began his interview with Mulvaney by asking him whether Trump "caved" to Democrats when he ended the shutdown earlier this week.

"Did the president here cave to Democrats?" Roberts asked. "I think a lot of Republicans think he capitulated here because he really came away from 35 days of a government shutdown with nothing more he could have had at least two weeks ago when Senator Graham proposed the same thing and maybe even back to before this whole thing started?"

"No, I think what you've seen here is the president seeing an opportunity," Mulvaney responded. "Why he did what he did was because many Democrats had come to us, some of them privately, many of them spoke out publicly, that they are actually starting to agree with him on the necessity for a barrier on the southern border, and they had come to us and said 'Look, we agree with you, you're winning the battle on the importance of a barrier on the southern border, but we simply cannot work with you while the government is open, excuse me, while the government is closed.'"

Mulvaney provided no evidence to support his claim.

On Friday, the 35th day of the longest government shutdown in United States history, Trump announced his backing for a three-week continuing resolution to reopen the approximately 25 percent of government departments that were affected by the partial shutdown. The stopgap measure will provide the 800,000 federal employees who were either furloughed or working unpaid during the shutdown with back pay but does not include funding provisions for the border wall that Trump promised during his campaign trail.

However, the president warned that he may shut down the government again or declare a national emergency if a deal isn't reached during the three-week funding period. "If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency," Trump said. "I had a very powerful alternative, but I didn't want to use it at this time."

Later in the Fox News interview, Mulvaney claimed that Senator Dick Durbin and Representative James Clyburn were among the Democrats who have publicly supported Trump's proposed border barriers.

However, in a recent interview with CNN, Durbin explained that while he supported existing barrier funding, Trump's border wall concept "is much different."

"Nancy would acknowledge, and I would, too, that we have put restrictions on what the Department of Homeland Security can build and they have been building 60 to 80 miles a year of fences and barriers with those restrictions," he said. "That is what I was referring to. I certainly wasn't blessing any type of a wall structure that the president talked about in his campaign. Nancy hasn't either."

While last week Clyburn asserted that Democrats may consider providing $5.7 billion worth of funding to measures like a "smart wall" in order to end the shutdown. "Using the figure that the president has put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing what I like to call using a smart wall," Clyburn said, according to The Hill. "These are the types of things that we are going to be putting forward."

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US President Donald Trump makes a statement announcing that a deal has been reached to reopen the government through Feb. 15 during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House January 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. On Sunday, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed that Trump caved because he was "winning" the border wall battle. Getty/Olivier Douliery-Pool