Paul Gosar: No Downside for Trump in Shutting Down Government to Get Full Wall Funding

US President Donald Trump takes the cap off a pen to sign an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project at the Department of Homeland Security facility in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told Breitbart News that President Donald Trump should use his presidential veto power to force funding for construction of a southern border wall, offering his remarks in a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Gosar said, “[GOP] leadership has capitulated to what the Democrats want” in relation to appropriations for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “I hope [Donald Trump] holds his ground because, unfortunately, I think our leadership has folded the towel,” he added.

Gosar remarked, “It always seems like the Democrats outplay us on this because we’re not willing to hold ground and play tough. It’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen.”

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Mansour pointed out that the Trump administration is currently asking for only $5 billion–or one fifth–of the border wall funding, instead of the full $25 billion required to fund the entire southern border wall.

She asked, “How do you see this [funding fight] playing out? Because President Trump said he was not going to sign another one of these bills like the last omnibus, which only gave him a pittance of wall fencing, not the big beautiful wall funding, and it was just loaded with awful stuff. He said he would never do that again. I feel like they’re setting him up to do it again. I worry about that. Do you?”

Gosar replied, “I do. But once again, the president carries the veto pen, and I think if he is savvy and he means what he says in regards to not signing one of those things, this may be one of those look-you-in-the-eyes and stare-you-down [moments where he can] say, ‘No, I meant it’ and ‘Come back with something different.’ Make these individuals pony up and stay here for the Christmas holiday. Sometimes you’ve got to provide that tough love, and you’ve got to follow through with your actions. Congress can send anything they want to the president, but it’s up to the president to honor what he made the comment to say.”

Gosar continued, “[Donald Trump] ought to say, ‘As I told you before, I’m not going to sign that bill’ — and hold his ground, and if they send him a bill of that magnitude, promptly turn around and … veto it, just as they’re getting ready to go to the planes.”

Gosar added, “Remember, it’s not all the government that’s shut down; it’s only the parts that we have not finished through. So the military is not a part of this. HHS and admin and the appropriations bills that we’ve already passed aren’t part of this, so this is a little different story that’s going on with this.”

Pollak asked, “So why wouldn’t the president go for a shutdown of those departments? He’s got all of the negotiating strength right now. There’s nothing working against him.”

Gosar responded, “Joel, I’m on your side. I see this point blank. I think what they’re trying to do is call his bluff, and sometimes, when people try to call your bluff, you’ve got to throw down with four aces.”

Pollak noted, “There’s no midterm election coming up. There aren’t going to be any political consequences. Republicans have lost the House. They’re not going to suffer for shutting down the government over an issue of principle. Maybe too little, too late to save themselves from what happened a few weeks ago. It’s not as if the Democrats are in a better bargaining position on this issue when the new Congress comes in because if they send the president something that’s less generous than what they’re offering now, he can still just veto it. They’re not going to have two-thirds to override the veto.”

Gosar concurred, “You’re exactly right, and remember that the majority of appropriations are funded through next September 30 already. So this is a fight that’s worth picking because I think you get the sway that you want, and you keep people here. Make it uncomfortable. They’re making it uncomfortable for President Trump. [Republicans] have squandered. That’s why we lost the House in the general election — is you make promises and you don’t keep them. People get tired of that, and this was a prime point of the president’s play — immigration and knowing who’s coming and who’s leaving and the safety of the United States.”

Gosar remarked, “I know that for the people that surround him, immigration has been a very dividing issue, and I don’t think some of the people that are surrounding the president are very friendly on this immigration issue — point blank.”

In March, Gosar described ongoing omnibus appropriations negotiations as a “crap sandwich” amounting to “kicking our base in the teeth.” He said at the time, “We’re kowtowing to Chuck Schumer,” noting the House’s prioritization of the Gateway Program — a regional infrastructure project linking Newark, New Jersey, and New York City — over a border wall.

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Tonight, Gosar also discussed the idea of states taking on the responsibility of border wall construction. He stated, “We’re going to have to play outside the box. So maybe what we’re going to have to start looking at is maybe the creativity of Article I, Section 10, Paragraph 3, in which the states on the border that are being invaded … usurp the federal government. All it takes is a governor — maybe somebody in Texas might be listening — to actually supersede the federal government in this jurisdiction, and they can use any and all power to repel those individuals.”

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

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