Sen. Mazie Hirono tells MSNBC's Chris Hayes everyone should call their members of Congress and say, "go and tell Mitch McConnell to do his job, bring these bills on the floor." Hirono also called President Trump a "hostage taker" and said, "we do not negotiate with hostage takers."
"There are two people to stop the shut down right now, one is the president, who is a hostage taker, having taken 800,000 people hostage, not to mention the thousands and thousands of contractors. He is a hostage taker. We do not negotiate with hostage takers," Hirono said Thursday night.
"There seems to be no depth to the cruelty of this president, the cruelty that he will impose on innocent people so that he can get his vanity wall," the Senator said on MSNBC.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: For more on where things stand on day 20 of the shutdown, I'm joined by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.
Senator, I want to read you something the senate majority leader had to say. He says the Democratic leaders who have to find compromise with Trump and then deliver their colleague's vote for that accord. I haven't been sidelined. There is just no particular role for me when you have this setup. Do you think that is true?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): That's one of the lamest excuses I've heard from somebody who has the power to bring the House passed bills to keep government open and who had no reluctancy to use those powers to force a vote on eliminating the Affordable Care Act for millions of people or to change the requirement for how many people it would take to put a Supreme Court justice on the court starting with with Neil Gorsuch and then Kavanaugh. He had no problems using his power to prevent Merrick Garland from being considered, and yet, and yet, he will say I have no power to bring these bills to the floor. That is so lame and that is the excuse he gave.
So, we are a separate branch of government. I don't think I need to remind Mitch McConnell that the congress is a separate branch of government and what we should do and what he should do, because there are two people to stop the shut down right now, one is the president, who is a hostage taker, having taken 800,000 people hostage, not to mention the thousands and thousands of contractors. He is a hostage taker. We do not negotiate with hostage takers.
The other person who can end this shutdown right now is Mitch McConnell, because he has the power. He won't do it.
So, everyone should be asking why aren't you going to use the power that you had no problems using to force $1.5 trillion tax cut for the richest people in our country and basically screwing the middle class. Why don't you do it? And he says, oh, because the president won't sign it.
There is thing called overriding of a veto.
So, Chris, I know you have a lot of people who watch your show all over the country. I would say to every one of your viewers who live in districts represented by Republican senators, they should call up their senators and say go and tell Mitch McConnell to do his job, bring these bills on the floor, because we already in the Senate passed these last year and make sure that everyone gets paid. He won't do it.
So it's very clear to me who can end this shutdown. I do not rely on the president who is amoral, makes no distinction between right or wrong, nor does he care. So I'm not going to rely on this guy whose word is no good. But Mitch McConnell can do something about this.
HAYES: There seems to be, the president has been sort of, you know, running this up the flag
pole that maybe he'll declare a national emergency.
HAYES: There is reporting indicating they are getting closer to doing that. It's very unclear if that's legal. Here is what they appear to be looking at. And I want to get your reaction to it. That Fox confirmed the White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to see if they can divert money to the border wall from disaster funding bill to cover wildfires in California, hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. What do you think of that idea?
HIRONO: You know, how much lower can you go? So, it's bad enough that he's preventing 800,000 people from getting their paychecks tomorrow. You know what, most of us live in a world where we actually need our paychecks, and now that is bad enough. But now, he wants to take money from victims of disasters?
See, there seems to be no depth to the cruelty of this president, the cruelty that he will impose on innocent people so that he can get his vanity wall. The person who can stop it is Mitch McConnell.