President Donald Trump did not mention the 35-day shutdown that he began last December in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, preferring instead to wax poetic about unity and cooperation. The next morning, however, Vice President Mike Pence suggested Trump would welcome another shutdown unless Democrats give in to the White House’s demands.
WATCH: Can you guarantee there won't be another government shutdown?
"Well, I think our hope is that there's not but I can't make that guarantee, @JeffGlor. The simple truth is Congress needs to do their job." — @VP Pence https://t.co/SwVoAcEVYV pic.twitter.com/ydPKN1vO8t
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 6, 2019
In an appearance on CBS News Wednesday morning, Pence repeated White House talking points about criminal gangs and “narcotics” that are allegedly streaming across the border. In reality, undocumented immigrants are less than half as likely to commit a crime in the United States as native-born Americans. And, while illegal drugs do sometimes cross America’s southern border, Trump’s proposed solution — a border wall — would not address this problem.
As ThinkProgress previously reported, “cocaine seizures on U.S. borders… regularly measure in tons, making it impractical to have individual migrants ferry it across.” For this reason, “dealers prefer to smuggle drugs into the country via legal ports of entry, which allow them to bring in high-value substances that are more easily hidden.”
Nevertheless, Pence used his appearance on CBS to issue a thinly veiled threat to Democrats — give Trump what he wants, or federal workers and their families will pay the price.
Trump “has laid out a plan,” Pence said, which includes “a steel barrier,” “additional detection technology,” and more border guards. “All of that is exactly what the American people want us to do,” Pence falsely claimed, before delivering his threat.
“Congress should come together and deliver that. And by delivering that,” Congress can “avoid a government shutdown again.”
Multiple polls show that the American public opposes Trump’s proposal for a border wall — a recent Gallup poll, for example, found that 60 percent of Americans oppose the wall. Similarly, polls showed that the lion’s share of Americans blamed Trump for the shutdown, which he himself said he would be “proud” to do. Trump’s disapproval ratings also spiked after he shut down the government.
Federal employees were given a three-week reprieve from the shutdown after Trump caved to Democratic lawmakers, who offered no money for his wall. It will take another deal to fund the government past February 15 — at least under the ordinary way of funding the government.
The Trump administration is still reportedly contemplating a national emergency declaration in an attempt to bypass congressional Democrats to obtain the $5.7 billion he is requesting for the wall — though the legality of such a move is, to say the least, dubious.