Flake: ‘Highly unlikely’ Trump will follow through on threat to close border

Outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Tanden's path to confirmation looks increasingly untenable On The Money: What's next for Neera Tanden's nomination MORE (R-Ariz.) said Friday it was “highly unlikely” that President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE would follow through on his threat to close the southern border if Democrats do not agree to provide money for his proposed border wall.

“It’s highly unlikely — gratefully — that he would do that,” Flake said on CNN. “It’s not likely to happen. It would stifle commerce, significant commerce, between our two countries that benefits both of us. So I don’t think he will follow through, I hope not.” 

The border wall has become the focal point of negotiations between Capitol Hill and the White House as a partial government shutdown enters its seventh day.


Democrats and Republicans have yet to come to an agreement on the president’s demand for $5 billion in border wall funding as part of any legislation to reopen the government. 

The president threatened Friday morning to shut down the border if his demands aren’t met.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!” he said in a tweet.

The Senate had previously passed a government funding bill without the border wall funding, but Trump declared the next day he would not sign it without money for his signature campaign promise after facing pressure from conservative commentators and lawmakers. 

The House passed a bill last week with $5.7 billion in border funding, though it was dead on arrival in the Senate as it was clear it would fail to reach a 60-vote hurdle. Democrats in both chambers have declared their opposition to the border wall, with likely next Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber MORE (D-Calif.) calling it a “non-starter.” 

The shutdown has resulted in the furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal employees and the closure of several government departments, including the Department of Homeland Security and numerous other agencies. It will likely extend into the new year and the next Congress, when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives and gain more leverage in negotiations, leaving them little incentive to agree to Trump’s demand.