Mulvaney defends change in views on border wall

White House acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid MORE on Sunday defended his reversal on President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, arguing there's more of a need for it now than when he bashed the concept in 2015.

During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mulvaney was confronted with a video clip of 2015 comments in which he called it "absurd and almost childish" for a presidential candidate to suggest building a fence along the border would solve the immigration issue. Trump campaigned in 2016 on a promise to build a wall along the border.

Mulvaney said on NBC that he's changed his mind on the issue because of the influx of immigrants attempting to cross the border during the Trump administration.


"Things on the ground are different," he said. "And when the circumstances change, you change your opinion."

Mulvaney argued that physical barriers constructed during past administrations have been effective, and acknowledged that a wall would not make sense all along the border.

"Do we need it from coast to coast, 2,000 miles all the way across? No, and the president has admitted as such," Mulvaney said. "There are places in the middle of nowhere where technology will be better."

"But a barrier, call it a wall, call it a fence, the president actually said he didn't care what you call it," he continued. "He even offered to let the Democrats help him design something. He says as long as it's effective, he doesn't care what you call it. We need something to prevent people from coming into this country illegally."

Trump's demand for $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has spurred a partial government shutdown that has lasted 16 days and counting. Democrats have refused to give money for the structure, offering $1.3 billion for broader border security measures instead.

White House and congressional aides are set to meet Sunday for another round of negotiations on border security.

Trump has dug in on his demand for funding, while offering shifting descriptions of the wall. He has said the structure does not need to be made of concrete, but could instead be constructed with steel slats.

He has inaccurately claimed parts of the wall are already being built and that Mexico is paying for it over time, while also insisting Congress must fund the project.