Back in December, it looked like President Donald Trump and the Democrats had a deal to fund the government. Then Ann Coulter weighed in, branding the president "gutless" and “a vulgar publicity hound” for failing to deliver on his biggest campaign promise of 2016: to build a “big, beautiful” wall on the southern border, even with his party in control of both houses of Congress.
A day later, Trump informed then-House Speaker Paul Ryan he would not sign a Senate spending bill to keep the government open, triggering what's become the longest government shutdown in modern American history.
Coulter and other conservative pundits were credited with convincing the president to use a shutdown to confront the Democrats over the border wall. She has enough perceived influence that Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier called on Coulter Tuesday to tell Trump it’s OK to open the government without wall funding.
But 24 days into the shutdown, she isn’t walking it back.
“He is dead in the water if he doesn't build that wall. Dead, dead, dead. Dead,” Coulter told VICE News’ Michael Moynihan. “I mean at some point I think people are gonna realize this is just the Democrats. They’re obsessing on this wall because they want Trump to break a promise.”
For Coulter, it doesn’t matter how or when the shutdown ends, so long as the president keeps it about immigration and border security. "You've always had the power, Mr. President. You're the commander-in-chief. Your number one job is to defend the borders,” she said.
“More Americans dying of drug overdoses every year than died in the entire course of the entire Vietnam War, and the vast majority of those drugs are being brought in because we have an open border.”
This segment originally aired January 15, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.