Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney pushed the GOP line that Democrats are to blame for the government shutdown. But that effort isn't fooling anyone, least of all Fox News host Chris Wallace.
On Sunday morning, Trump slaked his rage at missing his Mar-a-Lago bash by tweeting that Republicans should blow up the filibuster in order to ram through their own spending bill.
But that notion only exposes the fact that Republicans could not even get their own majority to vote for the continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open, a fact that dogged White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as he made the rounds to spin for Trump.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace pressed Mulvaney consistently throughout their interview, but he was particularly relentless on the Republicans’ failure to secure even their own 51 votes to avoid the shutdown.
“You are calling this the ‘Schumer shutdown,’ but the fact is you only have 46 Republicans willing to vote for this … continuing resolution,” Wallace noted. “Even if there hadn’t been a Democratic filibuster, you didn’t have the majority needed to pass the CR. All the more reason, isn’t this on Republicans and the White House and control of the House and of the Senate?”
Mulvaney tried to deflect back to the issue of the 60-vote threshold, but Wallace cut him off.
“But the point is, you do not have your own house in order,” Wallace said. “You only have 46 republicans supporting this.”
Mulvaney again tried to shift blame by pointing out, among other things, that Democrats “like funding the government,” an odd message for someone trying to avoid blame for shutting the government down.
Wallace was unmoved, again pointing out that “you only had 46 republicans.”
“If you have ten or 15 democrats and it still failed, I think the point is fair,” Mulvaney replied. “But right now, until you have at least nine Democrats, we cannot open the government.”
“You don’t have 51 republicans either,” Wallace doggedly pointed out.
In the end, Mulvaney was forced to admit defeat, asking Wallace, “What difference does it make? Without nine Democrats this government is not opening.”
Wallace continued to hammer Mulvaney on other aspects of the shutdown, such as his own hypocrisy at having been a vocal supporter of the 2013 government shutdown, Trump’s failure to heed his own advice and show the “leadership” needed to end the shutdown, and Trump’s inability to take “yes” for an answer after he’d reportedly reached a deal with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
Mulvaney predicted that Trump’s shutdown could drag on through the State of the Union address, and if this interview is any indication, that will mean a devastating week-and-a-half of political gut punches to Trump and the Republicans.
They aren’t fooling anyone.