President Donald Trump just declared a national emergency to build his wall and America has Fox News host Sean Hannity to thank for it.
The big question as the country barreled towards yet another government-shutdown deadline this week was whether President Trump’s “de facto chief of staff”—as CNN’s John King put it—would convince him not to sign Congress’ bipartisan border-security deal, forcing the government to shut down once again.
But while Hannity described the bill as a “garbage compromise” during his own trip to El Paso on Monday, he made clear on his show the following night that he would forgive the president for signing it—as long as a few conditions were met.
As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz first reported, Hannity appeared to give Trump the “green light” on Tuesday when he offered up his own “better solution” than simply accepting the congressional deal and moving forward without the full funding for the president’s border wall.
“I'm not as concerned as some other conservatives if the president signs the bill, but there are a couple of ifs,” Hannity told viewers, including his most important one in the White House. “Step one: The president decides he wants to sign the compromise, which would guarantee the $1.375 billion down payment for the wall, OK, that money can be used immediately.”
“Now if he takes step two, which is the president utilizing money he’s identified, some $900 million for additional construction, that is already available for the administration's discretion,” he continued. “That would be about $2.3 billion, but the important third step needs to happen simultaneously.”
“And that would be the president would need to declare a national emergency,” Hannity concluded. “This is the time. That is a necessity. And the president, I think I know him very well, telegraphed that very thing just today.”
But more than the president “telegraphing” that decision to Hannity, it was Hannity instructing Trump on how to emerge from his border wall mess unscathed in his eyes. The host first pushed Trump to declare a national emergency while interviewing him from the border during government shutdown that ended up lasting 35 days.
The New York Times also reported this week that the White House had reached out to Hannity directly to get him on board after his harsh criticism of the bill the day before. Their message, according to the Times: “Mr. Trump deserved support because he still forced concessions that he would never have gotten without a five-week partial government shutdown.”
Of course, not every right-wing pundit has received that message. Before news broke that Trump will declare a national emergency, Fox News host Laura Ingraham practically begged him not to sign the bill, tweeting, “So the president has his hand forced to sign a 1,159 page bill that we KNOW is filled with amnesty, PORK and wiggle room? Total SCAM! @realDonald Trump wasn’t elected for this. This bill must NOT be signed by @realDonald Trump.”
And then there was Ann Coulter, who greeted the national-emergency news with this all-caps message to the president: “NATIONAL EMERGENCY WON'T HELP. IT'S OVER IF HE SIGNS THIS BILL!”