Sarah Sanders: Trump 'means what he says' that shutdown could last months or years

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE "means what he says" when he suggested an ongoing partial government shutdown could extend for months or years.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Sanders blamed Democrats for the stalemate over funding for Trump's proposed wall along the southern border, which has precipitated a partial government shutdown that has lasted 16 days and counting.

"It would be outrageous for Democrats, who agree with the president ... they agree that we need border security," she said. "They just are unwilling to let this president win."

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"And I think at some point they have to decide that they care more about Americans than fighting the president," she said. "And so far, we haven’t seen a willingness on their side to fully do that."

Sanders was asked why Trump would not support reopening parts of the government unrelated to Homeland Security and the border wall, a move that would provide relief for hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been furloughed amid the shutdown.

"At some point, we have to say 'enough is enough,' " she said. "We have to stop kicking the can down the road."

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) said following a meeting with Trump and other congressional leaders on Friday that the president had told attendees that he'd be willing to keep the government shuttered for "months or even years" over his demand for $5 billion for a wall along the southern border.

Speaking to the press in the Rose Garden on Friday, Trump confirmed he "absolutely" told Democrats the shutdown could drag on for years, but expressed hope it would not come to that.

The president said he's considering using national emergency powers to build the wall, a move that would inflame tensions with a divided Congress and raise legal questions about his executive authority.

Sanders on Sunday did not address whether Trump had begun drafting such an order or whether he had a deadline for doing so, but said the president "is prepared to do what it takes to protect our borders."

"As we’ve said for last several weeks, we're looking and exploring every option available that the president has," she said. "Whatever action he takes will certainly be lawful, and we’re looking at every option we can."