Jon Karl Scolds, Argues With Pence Over Border, Shutdown: Trump's Lack of 'Credibility' Got Us 'In This Mess'

On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, the network’s White House correspondent Jonathan Karl sat down with Vice President Mike Pence to grill him about President Trump not backing down on the border wall, laying blame for the government shutdown exclusively on him. Despite Democrats being unwilling to budge on funding for border security, the ABC reporter seethed to Pence that it was Trump’s fault that we were “in this mess.”

Leading into the interview, Karl griped to anchor George Stephanopoulos that there was a “real credibility issue” with Trump’s past statements on the border. Sitting down with Pence, he listed these claims, such as the one that terrorists were coming from Mexico, as reason enough that Americans didn’t want the wall, because Trump couldn’t “be trusted:”

But more broadly how can the president be -- how can his word be trusted on this when he has said so many things that are not true on this crisis. He said Barack Obama has a ten-foot wall built around his house. You know that's not true. He said that some of his predecessors told him they wanted to build a wall but all four living presidents have now put out statements they never had any such conversation with the president and then you saw Sarah Sanders say that nearly 4,000 terrorists come into the country every year and, you know, that's not true either. How can the American people trust the president when he says this is a crisis, when he says things over and over again that aren't true?

As the vice president explained that Americans cared more about security than political games, Karl gushed, “the question is his credibility!” He interrupted and argued with Pence as the vice president explained that it was not just terrorists, but also people with suspicious backgrounds and with criminal histories that were coming into the country over the border.

Karl kept badgering Pence, suggesting it was Trump’s fault that were “in this mess in the first place,” because he had promised that Mexico would pay for the wall:

But why are we in this mess in the first place? The president said over and over again, in fact, you said that Mexico was going to pay for this wall so now he's shutting down the government so that -- to force taxpayers to pay for the wall. I mean, that was a promise that he didn't say once or twice or three times he said over and over again, Mexico is going to pay.

As Pence explained the re-negotiated NAFTA deal and other new arrangements with Mexico that would benefit the U.S., Karl kept obsessively pressing on that past statement.

“But that's not what he said. He didn't say he was going to renegotiate a deal. He said Mexico was going to pay for it!”

Karl gave Pence the last word as the interview came to a close. Later in the show, the tone was starkly different with Democrat senator and 2020 potential contender Kamala Harris, who sat down with George Stephanopoulos for an interview.

Calling her a “rising star,” Stephanopoulos pleaded with Harris, “is there anything you can to stop [Trump]?” before going on to praise her book and hope that should would run in 2020.

Read the full transcript below:

ABC

Good Morning America

1/8/2019

7:02:56-7:08:09 AM

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Our Chief White House Correspondent. Jon Karl spoke with Vice President Pence just moments ago and starts us off from Washington.

JON KARL: Good morning George. The vice president said the president will portray this as a national security crisis at the border but there is a real credibility question. I asked the vice president about the repeated false statements, inaccuracies coming from the White House on this issue.

KARL: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. The president told democratic leaders that the shutdown could go on for months, even years. Is he really prepared to keep the government shut down that long?

MIKE PENCE: I think the president is prepared to do what's necessary to address what is a real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border. Look, Jon, the American people deserve to know that the situation on our southern border has become as "The Washington Post" said a bona fide emergency. 60,000 people a month and for the first time on record, the vast majority of those are families, unaccompanied children and it simply is overwhelming the ability of our border patrol and customs agents to be able to address it. We need new resources. We need to build a wall. We need the Congress to come to the table and work with this president to address this crisis once and for all.

 

KARL: But more broadly how can the president be -- how can his word be trusted on this when he has said so many things that are not true on this crisis. He said Barack Obama has a ten-foot wall built around his house. You know that's not true. He said that some of his predecessors told him they wanted to build a wall but all four living presidents have now put out statements they never had any such conversation with the president and then you saw Sarah Sanders say that nearly 4,000 terrorists come into the country every year and, you know, that's not true either. How can the American people trust the president when he says this is a crisis, when he says things over and over again that aren't true?

PENCE: Well, look, the American people aren't as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about what's really happening at the border and --

KARL: [scoffs] The question is his credibility. The White House said 4,000 terrorists come into to our country. That's not true!

PENCE: Jon nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were app kepted attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last year--

KARL: Overwhelmingly at airports, not at the border!

PENCE:-- 3,000 special interest individuals, people with suspicious backgrounds that may suggest terrorist connections were apprehended at our southern border. 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. 90% 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.

KARL: But why are we in this mess in the first place? The president said over and over again, in fact, you said that Mexico was going to pay for this wall so now he's shutting down the government so that -- to force taxpayers to pay for the wall. I mean, that was a promise that he didn't say once or twice or three times he said over and over again, Mexico is going to pay.

PENCE: That's right, and the president re-negotiated the NAFTA agreement. Now the U.S./Mexico/Canada agreement in a way that it will benefit the United States of America in jobs and tax revenues in--

KARL: But that's not what he said. He didn't say he was going to renegotiate a deal. He said Mexico was going to pay for it.

PENCE: We've also negotiated a new arrangement with Mexico going forward that when individuals come into this country and come to this country and apply for asylum they'll be able to remain in Mexico while they're going through the judicial process. As I sit here today, Democrats refuse to even negotiate to end the shutdown and address the border crisis and it's time they came back to the table.

KARL: Mr. Vice President, thank you. Thank you for your time.

PENCE: Thank you Jon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, you pressed the vice president pretty hard there and you also asked about this idea the president might declare a national emergency to go around congress if they can't negotiate a deal.

KARL: He said the president is considering that as we've heard from the president that they are looking into that but I pressed how would that work and does the president really believe that he could build the wall without any congressional approval or congressional authorization and no direct answer on how that would work but he did say it is something under consideration, no decision yet made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll ask Democrat senator Kamala Harris about that in our next half hour. Thanks very much.


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Crime Government shutdown Immigration ABC Good Morning America Jonathan Karl George Stephanopoulos Kamala Harris Mike Pence Donald Trump
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