South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday called for President Donald Trump to reopen the government for a short period while he decides whether to declare a national emergency at America’s Southern Border.
The federal government is now in a partial shutdown because of differences between Congressional Democrats and Trump over Trump’s proposed Border Wall. Trump wants it funded at $5.6 billion. Democrats don’t want it funded at all.
Graham appeared Sunday on “Fox News Sunday” and said that he thinks Trump will need to declare an emergency, but urged that not happen right away.
“I ask him, ‘Mr. President if you want to go down the emergency path, I stand with you.’ He said just 30 minutes ago, ‘That’s my last option. The legislative route is the best way to go, let’s make a deal, but I will do it if I have to,” Graham said, quoting Trump
“So, we have found, in the past, presidents declared emergencies for different things. I am going to support him,” Graham said.
But Graham said there should be one last chance to broker an agreement.
“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off, see if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers. That’s my recommendation,” Graham said.
Graham said he and Trump see things taking place in a different order.
“I tried to see if we could open up the government for a limited period of time to negotiate a deal and the president says, let’s make a deal, then open up the government,” he said.
Graham said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, is holding up any hopes of a deal.
“Nancy Pelosi says, even if you open up the government, I wouldn’t fund a wall. So, that’s why I’m depressed. You know, there’s not much talk about what she said. She’s telling the president, even if you open up the government, I’m not going to do a deal on the wall. And that’s a nonstarter for the president,” Graham said.
Graham referenced a recent Pelosi quip that she would allocate $1 to build the wall.
“It really does perplex me how you expect this to end when you tell the president of the United States, you get $1 for a wall when in the past Democrats have appropriated billions for the wall. What are we supposed to do? Just give in? He’s not going to give in,” Graham said.
He said Pelosi is killing hopes for a deal.
“I think the legislative path is just about shut off because Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House, said, even if you open up the government, I will give you $1 for the wall. As long as that’s the case, we are never going to get a legislative package no matter what the Senate does,” he said.
Graham said Democrats are applying a different set of rules when it comes to Trump.
“Every Democrat that I’ve worked with for about ten years now has agreed to funding for barriers/walls on Obama’s watch, on Bush’s watch, and all of a sudden, it’s a bad thing on Trump’s watch,” he said.
Host Chris Wallace asked what Graham thought Trump has in mind.
“The plan is to do a deal. He is willing, in my view, to do wall plus. Funding for the wall that we desperately need that’s been done in the past. See if we can do a deal around the (temporary protected status) recipients who are going to lose their legal status,” he said. TPS covers immigrants who would normally be excluded but were allowed in the country due to disasters.
“The DACA recipients, they are all tied up in court but I think he would give them work permits for three years, one-time renewable if you could get wall funding,” Graham said, referring to children of illegal immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program that allows them to remain in the U.S.
Wallace talked about the possibility of the shutdown continuing into February, and asked Graham, “How much damage does that two of this government shutdown goes on for weeks, even into next month?
“Less damage than if we don’t fix a broken immigration system. You’ve got to bad choices here. Continue to stalemate and see parts of the government shutdown, it will be inconvenient and it can create problems. Into the federal workforce, I’m sorry you caught up in this mess. But the real damage is people coming across the border, selling drugs, killing Americans, that needs to come to an end. So, the real damage is a broken border compared to a partial shutdown,” Graham said.
Graham said Trump has little choice but to declare an emergency.
“I think there is a crisis at the border. I think it fits the definition of a national emergency. It’s the last option, not the first option, but we’re pretty close to that being the only option,” he said.
“How do you negotiate with the speaker of the House when she tells you even if you open up the government are not going to give you but $1 for the wall? So, until that changes, there’s not much left except the national emergency approach.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.