Sarah Sanders: ‘Conservatives Who Actually Have Influence’ Don’t Think Trump Caved on Shutdown

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JOSHUA CAPLAN

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed Monday that conservatives “who actually have influence” do not believe President Donald Trump caved last Friday in reaching an agreement to re-open parts of the federal government without securing border wall funding.

“Negotiations are still ongoing,” Sanders said when pressed on whether critics were correct in arguing the president mishandled shutdown talks with Democrat leaders. “And I would argue that conservatives that actually have influence have supported the president throughout this process.”

“They believe in border security,” she continued. “They believe in protecting Americans, just like the president, and they stand with him.”

The press secretary’s remark was a veiled, yet not so subtle shot at Drudge Report, Breitbart News, and Ann Coulter, who have been supportive of the president and his America First agenda since he announced his campaign for the presidency in June 2015. Shortly after announcing a deal to end the shutdown, Coulter fired off a series of tweets directed at the president, including one in which she wrote: “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan shared screenshots of both the Drudge Report and Breitbart News’s reaction to the agreement. Both websites noted in bright red lead headlines that the president failed to secure wall funding, a chief campaign promise, and one that had been accompanied by a pledge that Mexico would pay for it.

Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, another staunch ally of the president, told viewers President Trump had been “whipped” and “rolled” by the 78-year-old speaker.

Not only were many prominent conservatives exasperated by the agreement, but recent polling indicates many right-leaning voters shared their sentiment.

As Breitbart News’s John Binder reported:

A Harvard/Harris Poll found that a slight plurality, about 43 percent, of conservative voters said they would view Trump less favorably if he reopened the federal government without securing any border wall funding, as he announced he will do on Friday.

Nearly 40 percent of Republican voters and 38 percent of Trump supporters said they would find the president “less favorable” for reopening the federal government without securing the funds to build a wall on the southern border to stop mass illegal immigration.

However, not all conservatives say President Trump left empty-handed. Leading Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro lauded the deal, saying that the president bested the “swamp” by reaching across the aisle to put 800,000 furloughed government employees back to work.

President Trump has signaled he is willing to allow the government to close once more on February 15, or declare a national emergency to build the wall, if Democrats refuse to support legislation that would allocate $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border security barrier.

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