The Slatest

Graham Urges Trump to Reopen Government Temporarily Before Emergency Declaration

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, urged the commander in chief to reopen the government for a few weeks in order to keep negotiating his border wall. Once he does that, and if there is no progress, then the president should go ahead with his plan to declare a national emergency, he said. “I would urge him 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,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

Sen. Chris Coons endorsed the idea, saying on the same show that he thought it would be a “great place to start.” Coons added that he didn’t think a border wall was “in and of itself immoral.”

Graham insisted Trump isn’t going to give up on his demand for a border wall. “What’s he supposed to do, just give in?” Graham added. “He’s not going to give in.” But it isn’t even clear that Trump would agree to open up the government without getting something from Democrats on the wall. Graham himself said he spoke to the president Sunday morning and Trump allegedly told him, “Let’s make a deal, then open up the government.” Democrats have been adamant they won’t negotiate anything with the government closed. Graham, however, said the path to a legislative solution “is just about shut off” and blamed Democrats for not negotiating, He added that he thinks the president may be willing to reach a deal that would include protecting Dreamers, long a priority for Democrats.

Trump also suggested he could discuss protecting immigrants who were brought illegally into the United States as children but said Democrats aren’t interested, predicting that would make Hispanics turn to the GOP. “Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don’t want to include in talks,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Many Hispanics will be coming over to the Republican side, watch!” The president also chastised Democrats for being “everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!”

Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, replied to that message on Twitter saying that “Speaker Pelosi has been in DC all weekend working from the Capitol.”