Politics & Government

Democrat: If Mick Mulvaney were president, he would have solved border wall issue

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff, looks on as President Donald Trump hosted the Clemson Tigers football team at the White House in Washington, Jan. 14, 2019.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff, looks on as President Donald Trump hosted the Clemson Tigers football team at the White House in Washington, Jan. 14, 2019. New York Times file photo

A former S.C. congressman could have solved outstanding issues around a controversial border wall proposal — if only he could switch places with his boss, President Donald Trump.

That is the assessment of the lead Democrat in negotiations over the wall, after a weekend of discussions aimed at keeping the federal government out of another shutdown, starting Friday.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that if “the group that was up at Camp David, including Mick Mulvaney, were left to our own devices, we would have solved it in less than a day.”

“And if Mick Mulvaney were president, we could have solved it,” Yarmuth told host George Stephanopoulos.

Mulvaney represented South Carolina’s 5th District in Congress for six years before Trump appointed the fiscal hawk to be his budget director after the 2016 election. Since December, Mulvaney also has been acting White House chief of staff.

Yarmuth is the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, a position he assumed after Democrats took over the majority in the U.S. House last month.

Yarmuth did not reveal details of any compromise that was discussed this weekend. But Trump has stuck to a demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the southern border. That sticking point was behind an historic 35-day government shutdown that ended last month. It could lead to another shutdown if negotiators don’t come to a deal by the end of the day Friday.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I don’t think the Dems on the Border Committee are being allowed by their leaders to make a deal.”

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Mulvaney indicated the administration would take less money. “We’ll take as much money as you can give us, and then we’ll go off and find the money someplace else, legally, in order to secure that southern barrier.”

“But this is going to get built with or without Congress,” Mulvaney said.

Yarmuth was confident that “people of good will” could come to a compromise, but it’s “very difficult for us to come to a logical compromise and then sell it,” he said. “I don’t know the answer to that, but we could’ve gotten it done this weekend.”

Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.
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