Pence Won't Say If Trump Plans to Declare National Emergency in Tonight's Speech

Susan Jones | January 8, 2019 | 7:58am EST
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Vice President Mike Pence walks with President Trump at the White House. (White House photo)

( - Vice President Mike Pence made the rounds of the network morning news shows on Tuesday to discuss the "real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," but he stopped short of saying whether President Trump will declare a national emergency tonight, in an attempt to get money for his long-promised wall.

"Is he going to declare a national emergency? Is that your expectation?" NBC's Hallie Jackson asked Pence in an interview that aired on the "Today" show:

"What I expect the president will do tonight is explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," Pence replied.

Sixty-thousand people are now attempting to come into our country illegally every month. That's more than 2,000 a day.

But what's unique about it, Hallie, and why "The Washington post" has even called it a bona fide emergency, is because the vast majority of those people now are families and unaccompanied children, and it simply is overwhelming the ability of our Customs and Border Patrol to address it.

And so the president will take those facts to the American people. He'll talk about the 17,000 people with criminal records that we've apprehended at our border. He'll explain the need, not just to build a wall, which he's determined to do, but also to provide our Border Patrol with additional resources, humanitarian and medical assistance, new technology.

But the Democrats need to come to the table and start negotiating. Tonight the president will take that case to the American people.

Jackson again pressed Pence on whether Trump plans to declare a national emergency in tonight's speech.

"Well, as he has said, it's something that he's looking at and considering," Pence replied.

The vice president said pretty much the same thing on ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "This Morning."

On ABC, correspondent Jon Karl took issue with the White House claim that around 4,000 terrorists tried to get into the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2017. "That's not true," Karl said.

"Jon, nearly four thousand known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last year," Pence replied. (DHS said most of those KSTs were apprehended at airports, not the border.)

But Pence highlighted concerns about a second category of individuals -- Special Interest Aliens -- which is separate from Known or Suspected Terrorists:

"But 3,000 Special Interest individuals -- people with suspicious backgrounds that may suggest terrorist connections -- were apprehended at our southern border," Pence said. "Last year alone, 17,000 individuals with criminal histories were apprehended at our southern border. Literally billions of dollars of narcotics flow through our southern border. Ninety percent of all the heroin that comes into this country that claims the lives of 300 Americans every week comes through our southern border.

"The passion you hear from President Trump, his determination to take this case to the American people, as he will tonight in his national broadcast from the Oval Office, comes from this president's deep desire to do his job to protect the American people, and we're going to continue to carry that case forward until the Democrats in Congress come to the table and start negotiating, not just to end the government shutdown, but to address what is an undeniable crisis at our southern border," Pence said.

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