Santorum: Trump Should Sign $1.3B Border Security Deal Then Declare Emergency and Get More Money for Wall

By Melanie Arter | February 12, 2019 | 12:47 PM EST

Former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, CNN White House Correspondent Abby Philiip, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) (l-r) (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Tuesday that President Donald Trump should sign the $1.3 billion bipartisan border security deal, then declare a national emergency and get more money to build the wall.

During a panel discussion on CNN’s “New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman,” Santorum was asked whether President Donald Trump will get on board with the deal.



“I don’t know whether he’s going to get on board with the deal. It’s a de minimis deal for the things that the president really focused on, so there’s a chance that he might not get on with this deal,” Santorum said.

“I’m disappointed in frankly the Democrats not willing to put up a more respectable figure for the barrier and Republicans for not driving toward a better number. If I were the president, I’d probably say sign this thing and declare an emergency and get more money so he can plus up the number for the wall,” he said.

 


Host Alisyn Camerota pointed out that although Trump would have had a better deal earlier if he had taken it, the Democrats gave in to his request for border wall funding after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she wouldn’t give $1 for a border wall.

“He gets $1.4 billion on a wall that Democrats never wanted, Joe, and Nancy Pelosi said she would never give $1, so we’re already up to $1 billion from their-- last night, from their offer. He could have had a better deal earlier had he taken it, but here we are,” Camerota said.

“And when we had Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) on, she said that she thought there’d be bipartisan pushback if he tried to raid a disaster relief fund to pay for it, but who knows if that’s what he’ll resort to it,” she said. “But either way, it is a compromise. Democrats compromised. Certainly, they weren’t planning -- this wasn’t on their priority list - building a wall and spending $1.4 billion on it.”

“Sure, I mean let’s remember Democrats and Republicans unanimously in the Senate said before the shutdown, ‘we’ll give you $1.6,’ and then we had a 35-day shutdown. To what end? For the president to get less money. I was really struck last night by watching on the many split screens how isolated the president is. You had Democrats and Republicans getting the work done on the conferees,” Former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said.

“Down in El Paso, you had the city council passing a resolution saying, stop lying about El Paso. You had the fire chief saying, stop lying about the size of the crowd, and you had the president living in a year of almost three years ago giving the same speech about a manufactured crisis with manufactured facts, and the rest of the world is moving on,” he said.

Lockhart said Trump will have to decide “whether he’s going to participate in this or if he’s just going to keep in a petulant way shutting the government down.”

“I understand his problems. You know, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity don’t like this,” he added. “I’d say the other big thing that going forward is the Freedom Caucus in the House has been the single most powerful block of voters in the last 10 years - the minority within the majority. They’re now the minority within the minority. They have no power. They don’t matter. They’re irrelevant.”

"Does that matter--- You kept calling it a wall. I believe the language of this is going to specifically say it can’t be a concrete barrier. Does that matter, senator? That it has to be a fence or some kind of other bound?” host John Berman asked Santorum.

“I think the president’s been pretty clear that he’s flexible on what kind of physical barriers - that the physical barriers have to be appropriate for the area that’s being fenced. So as long as we work with the people on the ground, I think the president will be fine with that, but I do believe that he should look to other options to build additional fencing,” Santorum said.

He stressed though that it’s “not a manufactured crisis” and that people are concerned about the issue.

“I disagree with Joe. I don’t think it’s Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. There’s a lot of people in America who are very concerned about the security at the border. It’s not a manufactured crisis. This is a serious problem going on at the border right now, and we need to address it, and so the fact that the previous presidents haven’t - and I’m talking Republicans and Democrats - doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem,” Santorum said.

“I understand that the loud voices got his attention, but those loud voices do represent a lot of people in America who are very concerned about those things. I don’t think they’re as necessarily strident as Ann Coulter is, but they are concerned about this, and the president has made this a priority for good reason,” he added.

 

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