WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration warned Sunday the partial government shutdown could stretch into the New Year because the border wall with Mexico is worth the fight.
“This is what Washington looks like when you have a president who refuses to go along to get along,” said Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It’s very possible the shutdown will go beyond the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mulvaney added.
The partial government shutdown kicked off Saturday after Trump demanded $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico, but his proposal couldn’t pass the Senate with 60 votes.
Talks between the White House and Democrats over the weekend failed to produce a compromise and lawmakers recessed until after Christmas.
Mulvaney said Trump has since backed away from his $5 billion price tag and is no longer pressing for a 30-foot concrete wall, but would accept a steel fence that he tweeted about Friday.
It’s now up to Democrats to increase their initial offer of $1.3 billion, Mulvaney said.
“We moved off of the $5 (billion), we hope they move up from their $1.3 billion,” said Mulvaney, who also serves as Trump’s budget director.
Democrats have refused to accept a wall, but will fund border security.
Mulvaney, who once panned Trump’s wall in 2015 as “simplistic” and “absurd and almost childish,” defended Trump’s demands Sunday as part of a larger immigration solution.
“A border wall is absolutely necessary, which is why we are having a battle,” he said.
Trump tapped Mulvaney as acting chief of staff after John Kelly, a retired Marine general, announced his departure.
But Mulvaney expressed low expectations about how long he’ll stay on the job.
“I don’t know … I think what we’ll do is take a couple of weeks, a couple of months and see if he likes the way I’m handling the job, if I like the job,” Mulvaney told ABC’s “This Week.”
Mulvaney, who called Trump in 2016 “terrible human being,” rejected any notion he could rein in the president.
“You’re not the chief of the president, you’re the chief of the staff,” Mulvaney said. “You’re not going to change the way the president behaves, the president thinks, the president operates.”
Mulvaney said he and Trump have moved past his scorching comments.
“We joked about it last night,” Mulvaney said.
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