Trump: Government shutdown over wall funding would be a ‘great campaign issue’
President Trump suggested Wednesday that a government shutdown would help Republicans ahead of the midterm elections in November, adding that he would take the step if necessary to see his plan for a border wall come to fruition.
In an interview with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the president called the issue of shutting down the government over obtaining funding for his border security program a “great campaign issue.”
“I actually think it would be a positive,” Trump said Wednesday. “It’s like pulling teeth, getting these guys to get it done. And you have no idea how tough I’ve been. And I say hey, if you have a shutdown, you have a shutdown.”
“Now, the shutdown can also take place after the [midterms],” Trump continued. “I happen to think that it would be a great political thing. People want border security, it’s not just the wall, Rush, as you know.”
“You could do it before the election or after the election,” he added. “I think it’s a great campaign issue. I think it would be great before [the midterms]. I actually think we’d get more and there’d be more pressure on the other side, because we’re doing it because the Democrats are not giving us the votes.”
Trump also noted that he’s “not doing it for politics.”
“I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” Trump said.
His comments on Limbaugh’s program came a day after Trump tweeted that he didn’t care what the “political ramifications” were to pursuing a shutdown over immigration reform and border security before November’s midterms, which are less than 100 days away.
“I don’t care what the political ramifications are, our immigration laws and border security have been a complete and total disaster for decades, and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a Government Shutdown,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
“A Government Shutdown is a very small price to pay for a safe and Prosperous America!” he added.
Trump made similar remarks on Monday during a joint press conference with Italy’s prime minister, adding that he would threaten a shutdown if Congress didn’t act first.
“If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump said.
Several Republicans have expressed skepticism over how successful a GOP-caused shutdown over immigration would be. A shutdown in 2013 over ObamaCare caused the party’s approval ratings to tank. GOP leaders in Congress are hopeful that a shutdown can be avoided without a major battle involving the White House.
Trump noted Wednesday that he accepts the “opinion” of some members of the party who believe that the immigration fight should wait until after the midterms, but still thinks it would be better “to do before.”