Mulvaney: Trump 'absolutely' could still cut off aid to Central American nations

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 may still cut off aid to Central American countries, acting White House 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 said Sunday.

Despite bipartisan criticism of the proposal, cutting off aid is “absolutely” still possible, Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

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“This is his number one priority. Keep in mind, dealing with health care is nice, dealing with the economy is nice. The president’s first responsibility is to protect the integrity and safety of our nation, and we really do believe and I think again, most folks are starting to agree with us now, that the situation on the border is a national security crisis.” Mulvaney told Fox News’s Bill Hemmer.

Trump has called to end foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras over the flow of migrants from the countries moving toward the U.S.

Critics, however, have said aid cuts are unlikely to achieve their desired effect.

“It may make the lives of these individuals even worse and thus encourage more of them to flee the countries that they are now leaving,” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said last week. “So I’d actually like to see the president consider a different approach, an opposite approach.”

Trump last week backed down on his threats to close the southern border, saying he would give Mexico a "one-year warning" to stop the flow of drugs into the U.S.