After multiple past presidents denied that they privately told President Trump they regretted not building a border wall during their terms, Vice President Pence struggled to defend Trump’s lie in a new interview with NBC News’ Hallie Jackson.
Trump falsely boasted at a Rose Garden news conference last week that former presidents have told him they wished they had built a wall themselves while they were in office.
“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me,” Trump said Friday. “And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”
But all four living former presidents have denied that they ever spoke to Trump about the wall or have made it clear they do not support Trump’s long-promised proposal.
Pressed by Jackson on Tuesday, Pence claimed that the president meant that it had been “his impression” and that he meant “the importance of border security.”
“I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents,” Pence said. “I know I’ve seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security, the importance of addressing the issue of illegal immigration.”
“Which former presidents told President Trump, as he said, that he should’ve built a wall? All their representatives have denied that that was the case.” @halliejackson to @VP Mike Pence pic.twitter.com/7xAH05aheE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 8, 2019
In an interview with ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, Pence also struggled to defend Trump’s repeated lies about immigration and the border.
“How can the president be, how can his word be trusted on this, when he has said so many things that are just not true about this crisis?” Karl asked.
Vice Pres. Pence talks to @jonkarl on shutdown stalemate: “We need new resources. We need to build a wall. We need Congress to come to the table and work with this president.” pic.twitter.com/Ncbx55dkSd
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 8, 2019
Pence deflected by saying that “the American people aren’t as concerned about the political debate.”