By John Solomon and Buck Sexton
President Trump hinted in an interview with Hill.TV that he will use his executive powers to do more on immigration before the midterm elections.
“I’ll be doing things over the next two weeks having to do with immigration, which I think you’ll be very impressed at,” the president said during an exclusive 45-minute Oval Office interview on Tuesday with Hill.TV.
He declined to say what the impending action might be. Several senior aides told Hill.TV that they didn’t know what the president intends to do.
Trump accused Democrats of opposing his wall on the Mexican border only to spite him given the fact that it was one of his signature 2016 election promises, and he said he needed a filibuster-proof GOP majority in the Senate — or an end to the legislative filibuster.
“We’ve started an 80-mile stretch,” the president said, identifying funds he’s moved around.
“The entire Democrat life is to try and make sure we don’t have a wall, not because we don’t need it, because we do. But because that was a promise that I made, and they want to try to make sure I don’t deliver on that promise,” he added.
The problem, he said, is that the Senate requires 60 votes to approve legislation without a filibuster, and Republicans hold just 51 seats.
“We gotta get to 60,” he said. “So 10 Democrats are controlling the Senate. We shouldn’t have the filibuster rule. The first thing that [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer would do if he ever took control of the Senate is get rid of the filibuster rule. And for whatever reason, and nobody can explain it, they just won’t do it. Which means we need to get nine more Republicans. So, it’s a very tough thing, even though we need it.”
The GOP’s chances of getting a majority of 60 are very unlikely in this year’s midterms, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been decidedly cool to Trump’s previous calls for ending the filibuster.
The president said he remains hopeful he can deliver on a border wall and that he found inspiration for the project while speaking at the Sept. 11 memorial in Pennsylvania.
“They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania, Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible,” he said. “They have a series of walls, I’m saying, it’s like perfect. So, so, we are pushing very hard.”
The Flight 93 National Memorial, two miles north of Shanksville in southwestern Pennsylvania, is the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after being hijacked by four al Qaida terrorists on 9/11. Forty passengers and crew died in the crash.