President Donald Trump said Saturday the looming arrival of a caravan of migrants would make the coming weeks a time to take a stand for border security or risk a government shutdown.
Trump said he thinks Democrats will “come to their senses” and no shutdown will be necessary.
The president spoke to the media briefly Saturday as he was preparing to leave for California.
“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” Trump said.
Trump: “This would be a very good time to do a shutdown” over border wall funding. pic.twitter.com/Dmu5AcBmwj
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 17, 2018
The proposal has been a hard sell for many Republicans and is rejected by most Democrats. It is now coming to the fore as an issue because border wall funding is part of a bill that must be passed by Dec. 7 to keep the government fully operational.
“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” Trump said.
Trump said he does expect that eventuality, the Washington Times reported.
“I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections,” he said.
The president also noted that military forces he ordered to the southern border might stay past their scheduled departure date of Dec. 15, CNN reported.
Trump said they would stay “as long as necessary.”
Troops have spent the time they have been assigned to harden border barriers.
Trump praised the “tremendous military force” in Texas, Arizona and California.
“They built great fences. They built a very powerful fence, a different kind of a fence, but very powerful. The fence is fully manned,” he said.
The concept of shutdown is a hard sell on Capitol Hill.
“I would always tell anybody, including the president, it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, period,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, according to The Hill.
When asked if $5 billion was possible, Shelby said, “I can’t tell you.”
Part of Trump’s efforts to boost border security are also taking shape in Arizona, Fox News reported.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday that 32 miles of existing wall will be replaced in a $324 million project scheduled to start in April.
The project will replace an old barrier that runs from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector west into the Yuma Sector, near Arizona’s border with California. The new wall will be higher than the one it is replacing.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.