Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman, said President Donald Trump had purposefully "manufactured" a crisis to revive his imploding presidency.
The MSNBC contributor appeared Thursday on "Morning Joe," where he said the president was preparing to declare a national emergency to send a signal to his base supporters.
"I don't see any wiggle room for Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer to go back into the White House and say, 'Here's $2 billion or $3 billion for the wall,'" Steele said. "That's just off the table."
Steele said the president wanted to declare a national emergency over the southern border, and he said the shutdown would help him accomplish that.
"We are where we are because this is actually where Trump wants to be," he said. "This idea of a national emergency, while he tinker-toyed around with it, he said, 'Well, I may, I have the authority to do it, I might do it' -- he absolutely wants to do it, because it is the only offer has."
Steele said the emergency and resulting court challenge would buy Trump some much-needed time.
"He'll throw it into the courts, let them work it out," Steele said. "He'll go to the base and say, 'I did everything, I got the money for the wall, we're going to start building the wall,' and then six months, eight months, whatever time is left over to figure all of that out -- he will have moved on."
Steele said the situation would likely play out again, sometime down the road.
"There will be other emergencies that will be manufactured and put on table for the House, the Senate, the nation to deal with," he said. "But we're here because this is where the president wants us to be right now."