Ann Coulter calling Donald Trump a “joke” may have been what led him to shut down the government. Now America may have Sean Hannity to thank if the president decides to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall.
After directly consulting with Trump ahead of his Oval Office speech earlier this week, the Fox News primetime host traveled with him to the border on Thursday. According to the pool report, instead of standing with the press corps Hannity “huddled with” White House communications deputy—and former Fox News boss—Bill Shine and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
It was a fitting place for Hannity, who acts more like an official adviser to the president than a journalist, which is the role he ostensibly played during his show Thursday night when he aired his “exclusive” interview with Trump.
Before airing their conversation, Hannity opened his show by arguing against the notion that the president has “manufactured” the “crisis” at the border. Egged on by the host, Trump then said, “That’s the real collusion, because they all use the exact same term.” It’s not a “manufactured crisis,” he added, it’s a “manufactured soundbite.”
Unlike those members of the mainstream media, Trump told Hannity, “You’re not fake news, you’re real news.” The host let out a comic sigh of relief.
“Everyone wants us to win this battle,” the president added, vaguely. “It's common sense. Death is pouring through. We have crime and death and it's not just at the border. They get through the border and they go and filter into the country.”
“You said earlier today that you are very likely going to declare a national emergency, how soon would that happen?” Hannity asked Trump later in the interview, seeming to push him in that direction. Speaking to reporters before he departed for the border, Trump had said he would “almost definitely” go in that direction.
“If we don't make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that,” Trump replied. He added, dubiously, “I can't imagine any reason why not, because I'm allowed to do it, the law is 100 percent on my side.”
Towards the end of the interview, Hannity returned to the national emergency issue, asking Trump what his “timeline” is on making that decision. The president said he would “see what happens over the next few days,” adding:
“We are not changing our mind, because there is nothing to change your mind about. The wall works. It's not a question like maybe it won't work. It will work 100 percent.”
At Hannity’s request, the CBP agents standing behind them dutifully confirmed that it meant a lot to them that Trump was there and that he was “describing the situation accurately.” What else were they going to say?