Wallace accused Pence of using the government shutdown and stopping pay for 800,000 federal workers as “leverage.”
Pence told Wallace that “the American people want action on our southern border, they want border security.” He added that “800,000 federal workers want us to find a way to open the government.”
That’s when Wallace jumped in: “You could open the government tomorrow,” then repeated himself three more times, even talking over the vice president as he attempted to respond.
“The House has passed bills to open the government tomorrow,” Wallace said. “Why don’t you sign them and open the government, and then you can negotiate about this?”
Pence responded: “Frankly, Chris, what the American people want us to do is work on their priorities, and the American people want us to secure the border.”
“No,” Wallace said. “Isn’t it really that you just want the leverage? And that you figure if you don’t keep the government closed,” then negotiations over the border wall are “going to go nowhere?”
The majority of Americans oppose the wall, according to a number of polls. Of 17 representatives and senators whose districts in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California include the southern border, only two — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) — support the wall.