Dem rep: 'If Mick Mulvaney were president, we could’ve solved' border talks at Camp David retreat

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthHouse Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Kentucky Democrat: House lawmakers will not vote remotely during outbreak Dem Congressman: Coronavirus stimulus should be bigger than 2008 MORE (D-Ky.) said Sunday that he believes a group of lawmakers invited to Camp David over the weekend by Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Trump to nominate Russell Vought as budget chief Warren, Brown press consumer bureau on auto lending oversight MORE could have come to an agreement on border security "in less than a day" if the acting White House chief of staff were president.

Yarmuth indicated on ABC's "This Week" that he and other lawmakers had productive discussions at Camp David, but that outside factors prevent them from coming to an agreement.

"If [Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Republican Tom Graves announces retirement from House Lawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms MORE (R-Ga.)] and I and the group that was up at Camp David, including Mick Mulvaney, were left to our own devices, we would’ve solved it in less than a day," he said. "And if Mick Mulvaney were president, we could’ve solved it."


"The problem is … we have people of goodwill and intelligence and thoughtfulness who actually can negotiate all these things very easily, but then the outside world intervenes," Yarmuth added.

The Democrat noted that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin emerges as key asset in Trump's war against coronavirus Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' The coronavirus pandemic versus the climate change emergency MORE (D-Calif.), frequent targets of partisan criticism, are not the only ones to blame for difficulties in talks. He cited "the right-wing media" and "left-wing organizations" as other sources that make it harder to reach a compromise.

"We have so many outside pressures that make it very, very difficult for us to come to a logical compromise and then sell it," Yarmuth said. "I don’t know the answer to that, but we could’ve gotten it done this weekend."

Trump triggered a recent 35-day government shutdown with his demand for $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats have offered funding for other border security measures, but no money for the wall.

The president agreed to reopen the government until Feb. 15 while a bipartisan group of lawmakers negotiate a deal to fund border security. Some members of the group expressed optimism a deal could be reached by Monday, but negotiations appeared to have stalled.

The president has threatened to declare a national emergency if needed to secure funding for the border wall. Several Republicans have expressed skepticism about such a move, however, which would likely prompt swift legal challenges.