Pence: Trump has 'impression’ that previous presidents wanted to build wall

Vice President Pence on Tuesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE has been given the "impression" that previous presidents wanted to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, following claims from Trump that former presidents had told him that they wanted to build a wall. 

Spokespeople for multiple former presidents, including former Presidents Carter, Clinton and George W. Bush, in recent days have publicly denied that they had discussed the prospect of a border wall with Trump.

Pence did not say that the former presidents made the comments directly, but said that Trump has said that he had gotten the "impression" from former presidents that they wanted the barrier built and said that he has seen video clips of previous presidents "talking about" border security's importance.

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"I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents," Pence said during an interview on NBC's "Today" that aired on Tuesday. 

"I know I've seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security, the importance of addressing the issue of illegal immigration," Pence added.

 

 

Pence during the interview framed the situation at the southern border as a "humanitarian and security crisis." 

The vice president's remarks come amid a partial government shutdown that has now entered its third week. The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, was triggered after Democrats and Republicans could not come to an agreement over a new spending bill. 

Trump has asked that more than $5 billion be included for a steel barrier along the southern border, which Democrats oppose. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures.

The president has said he might declare the situation a national emergency in order to allocate the funds he wants to border wall construction. 

Trump is slated to give a prime-time address on Tuesday from the Oval Office on the issue. 

“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 said on "Today." 

"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," Pence said.

Pence during the interview acknowledged that Trump is "looking at and considering" the possibility of declaring a national emergency if the shutdown continues. Lawmakers have raised concerns about the legality of such a move.