Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had an unusual lecture for reporters on Tuesday about how a "good shutdown" would "fix" Washington, D.C.
At Tuesday's White House press briefing, Mulvaney complained that Democrats had taken credit for "winning" negotiations over a $1 trillion spending bill. Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump had also lashed out at Democrats' budget spin and threatened to shut down the government during future negotiations.
The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1493730101.0
either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1493730430.0
Trump's tweet prompted a heated discussion between Mulvaney and reporters about what a "good shutdown" would look like.
"The signal that we are sending is that we are competent, we know what we're doing and the government is safe in our hands," Mulvaney said of the budget.
ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl admitted he was "a little confused" by Mulvaney's version of events.
"You said the Democrats wanted a shutdown and the president himself tweeted, 'Our country needs a good shutdown in September,'" Karl noted. "Can you explain that? And if there is a shutdown in September, won't it clearly be the president's fault? I mean, he's the one actually calling for it."
"It may be if things don't get better, we get to that point," Mulvaney admitted. "My guess is that [the Democratic] base is upset that we are building this [border wall]. We are taking their money to build this."
"How does the president define a good shutdown?" NBC's Peter Alexander pressed.
"I don't know," Mulvaney replied. "We haven't had one. I think a good shutdown -- if there is such a thing -- a shutdown... it's not a goal, okay? And it's not a negotiating tool. But to the extent the president advocated for one today, if you wanted to imagine what a good shutdown was, it would be one that fixes this town."
"If that's what's necessary to do to fix Washington, D.C., that would be a good shutdown," he insisted.
Watch the video below from Fox News, broadcast May 2, 2017.