Trump Threatens Government Shutdown to Pay for Border Wall Mexico Was Supposed to Pay For
One of President Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises was to reinforce the wall on the United State’s southern border with Mexico and that Mexico would pay for it. Trump has so far relinquished that demand from our southern neighbors and has now asked Congress to approve funds for the wall. On Thursday night at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump took his rhetoric a step further threatening to shut down the government in September if Congress does not approve appropriations for the wall.
“We are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary,” said Trump, as the crowd burst into a chant of “Build that wall.”
When Trump returned to the podium, he added, “Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
Bloomberg Politics dove into President Trump’s threat, saying it could paint Trump into a corner.
“Trump isn’t really helping himself,” said Bloomberg’s Kathleen Hunter. “He’s going to need the help of Republicans in Congress and he’s basically been in a feud with Senate [Majority Leader Mitch McConnell]. … This just raises the stakes.”
When asked what the chances of Congress approving funds for the border wall in the short time they’ll have after returning from their summer recess, Hunter said it may be difficult for the president to accomplish this goal.
“Trump is really kind of boxing himself in now, because now he’s in the position of either having to back down and look weak, which we know he doesn’t like doing. Or press ahead and potentially have a government shutdown. Just the way the Senate works, they would need 60 votes for a spending bill, which means definitionally, you’re going to need Democrats to support it. So, he’s really kind of painted himself – once again on yet another issue – into a corner.”
Hunter is pointing to recent flirtations Republicans have had with shutting down the government and how it generally is not received well by the public. Should Trump attempt to shutdown the government, it could become a political liability for an already unpopular president.
President Trump is seeking $1.6 billion from Congress to begin new construction on the wall. Some estimates, however, show that a brand new border wall would cost an estimated $25-30 billion to complete. Trump has backed off public proclamations that Mexico would pay for the wall and even privately asked the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, to not make public statements that the United States would pay for the wall because it would hurt Trump politically.
“You cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall,” said Trump, according to transcripts of his call with Peña Nieto. “I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important to talk about.”