CNN’s Avlon: Pence was like ‘Elf on the Shelf’ during White House border wall spat

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CNN’s John Avlon on Tuesday said that Vice President Pence looked like an “Elf on the Shelf” while sitting quietly during an explosive Oval Office meeting between President Trump and Democratic leaders about funding for the border wall.

In a tense meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Trump threatened a government shutdown if he did not get the funding he wants for border security.

{mosads}As Trump, Schumer and Pelosi sparred verbally, Pence sat quietly in the background, something that Avlon compared to the popular Christmas toy, the Elf on the Shelf.

“It was something. That was weird,” observed Avlon. “The ‘Chuck and Nancy visit the Oval’ got really weird.”

“In some ways, it was the best and the worst of the Trump Administration,” he continued. “There’s a radical transparency. They’re debating in presidential terms in real time. And Mike Pence is sort of like the Elf on the Shelf and not saying a word.”

“Nancy Pelosi is going toe-to-toe with the president saying we need to have an evidence-based argument,” Avlon concluded. “The president says, fine, you want to say ‘I’ll shut down the government, I’ll be proud to do it for border security.’ That is a high-stakes moment. Dec. 21, there’s not a lot of days to fix this.”

Dec. 21 is the deadline for a Congress to pass, and Trump to sign, a spending bill for approximately 25 percent of the government.

Trump elected to allow the press to attend part of the White House meeting that was originally scheduled to happen in private. Pence did not speak throughout the meeting.

“I don’t think you should have a debate in front of the press,” Pelosi said at one point. At another, Schumer urged, “Let’s debate in private.”

During the exchange, Trump threatened a government shutdown, saying he would be “proud” to do that to get his border funding.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump said during the meeting inside the Oval Office.

“I will take the mantle,” the president added. “I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

“Unfortunately, this has spiraled downward,” Pelosi noted.

“It’s not bad, Nancy. It’s called transparency,” Trump shot back.

The government has shut down 19 times since 1976, which is when Congress introduced the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

Tags border security Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Government shutdown Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi Oval Office argument White House

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