McConnell: Trump could 'win' on national emergency fight

McConnell: Trump could 'win' on national emergency fight
© Greg Nash
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE could "prevail" in the fight with Congress over an emergency declaration to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall by vetoing a potential resolution. 
 
McConnell, speaking with Fox News's Martha MacCallum, declined to say how he would vote on a potential resolution of disapproval, but predicted that it "wouldn't be without controversy" if the president declares a national emergency. 
 
"I think there are different opinions about it, and if he goes that route we'll just hash it out," McConnell said, asked if thought Republicans would line up behind Trump if he declares a national emergency. 
 
The Senate GOP leader added that Trump could "prevail" in a potential fight with Congress by vetoing a resolution of disapproval if it reaches his desk. The the resolution would initially only need to be able to garner a simple majority in both chambers, Democrats would then need two-thirds support in both chambers in order to override a veto. 
 
"The president could win anyway by vetoing the bill and then trying to get enough votes to sustain it, so may ultimately be able to prevail on the national emergency alternative," McConnell said. 
 
Though a group of lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to reach a deal on breaking the months-long stalemate over the U.S.-Mexico border wall, the president hasn't yet ruled out declaring a national emergency. 
 
Without a deal the government could face it's second partial shutdown in as many months. McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday that "nothing good comes out of a government shutdown."
 
But declaring a national emergency has garnered fierce pushback among Senate Republicans, who worry that it will got bogged down in court and set a precedent for a future Democratic president to circumvent Congress.
 
"I hope he doesn't do it," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP poised to go 'nuclear' on Trump picks GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Court-packing becomes new litmus test on left MORE (R-Texas), who is close to McConnell, told reporters. "I think there's a number of good reasons to shy away from that."
 
Some GOP senators predict that when push comes to shove Senate Republicans would remain united enough to block a resolution of disapproval. Democrats have 47 seats, meaning they would need to flip at lest four Republicans.  

But Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (R-S.D.), McConnell's No. 2, warned earlier Tuesday that it could "tough" for Trump to convince Republicans to initially block the resolution.

"The concern I guess I would have is that on the front end that vote, based on the concerns that a lot of our members have expressed … might be a, you know, a tough vote to win here in the Senate," Thune said.

He added that Trump could win "on the back side" by Republicans sustaining his veto of the resolution of disapproval.