Ann Coulter said that Donald Trump will be “dead in the water” if he fails to build his proposed border wall, applying more pressure to a president who, some say, has continued to keep the federal government partially closed in part because of criticism from commentators on the right.
On “Vice News Tonight,” which aired Tuesday, Coulter suggested she was not concerned about the ongoing partial government shutdown — which caused hundreds of thousands of federal workers to miss paychecks on Friday — as long as public attention remains on immigration.
“Oh, gosh, they’ll have to wait a few months before they know fully well they’re going to be paid in full,” Coulter said. “Look, I’m not in favor of this, but previous shutdowns have been much more difficult.”
She added: “More Americans die from drug overdose every year than died in the entire course of the Vietnam War, and the vast majority of those drugs are being brought in because we have a wide-open border. I care more about that than I care about the Yosemite gift shop being open,” Coulter said (the Drug Enforcement Administration says most illicit drugs enter the United States through legal ports of entry, as The Washington Post’s Fact Checker notes).
Coulter’s latest remarks continue a mostly one-sided exchange between Coulter and Trump. The conservative pundit has repeatedly urged the president to fulfill his campaign promise of constructing a wall at the southern border to stymie illegal immigration.
Trump hasn’t responded publicly to Coulter but did unfollow her on Twitter, hinting at a fracture in their relationship. That hasn’t stopped Coulter from goading the president, who “reads my stuff,” she claimed in the interview.
When asked why the president is “digging his heels on immigration” now, Coulter replied that it was a self-preservation tactic. The shutdown began Dec. 22 over Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
“He is dead in the water if he doesn’t build that wall. Dead, dead, dead,” she said. Coulter cast blame on Democrats for prolonging the shutdown, adding that they’re “obsessing” over the wall because they want Trump to break his promise.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe Trump and the Republicans are mostly at fault for the shutdown, compared with 29 percent who blame the Democrats in Congress.
Coulter was accused in December of playing a role in the shutdown after she and other high-profile pundits lambasted the president for appearing to concede on funding the wall. In the week leading up to the shutdown, the White House briefly showed support for a stopgap spending measure that would have kept the government open until early February. This caused conservative talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” to speak out against the president and say he was “getting ready to cave.”
At the time, Coulter said during a podcast on the Daily Caller that not building a wall would be an indelible stain on Trump’s presidency and would cause her not to vote for the president in 2020.
“It’ll just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people,” she said at the time. “. . . he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.”
Soon after that commentary, Trump said he would refuse to sign any funding bill that didn’t include money for the wall. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) accused the commentators of “completely” flipping Trump, adding that it was a “tyranny of talk radio hosts.”
In her interview with Vice, however, Coulter took her sentiments a step further. She said Trump had “screwed up for two years” by not building the wall. But now, “with three seconds on the clock, he’s finally throwing the ball, so I’m not going to complain about that,” she said.
“As long as he makes the fight about immigration, he will win,” she added.
Coulter’s view of Trump has changed, and the man she once called an “emperor God” is “the worst negotiator God ever created,” she told Vice. Trump’s inability to deliver on the wall — the hallmark promise of his presidential campaign — led her to run a column on Breitbart titled “Gutless President in a Wall-Less Country.”
Although their relationship has frayed, that hasn’t stopped critics, including Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), from thinking Coulter still has Trump’s ear.
“Dear @AnnCoulter — Please tell the President it’s OK to open up the government,” Speier tweeted Tuesday.