President Trump has alluded to doing whatever it takes to get Democrats to jump on board with his plan for immigration reform.
Trump made the campaign promise to his anti-immigrant base: “I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
But now that it’s apparent that was an empty promise and midterm elections are right around the corner, he’s threatening to infringe upon the lives of U.S. residents by closing the government.
“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!”
“We need great people coming into our Country!” Trump said.
Republicans, though they want to keep control of Congress, aren’t necessarily fond of the idea. They are concerned that the party would be blamed for shutting down the government, which could cost them votes.
This is a crucial year for the party because there’s the looming risk it would lose control of the House. Currently, the Republicans hold the majority of 51 out of 100 seats in the Senate and with new faces in the running for Democrat seats, there is cause for concern.
It would behoove the Republicans to hold Trump’s feet to the fire by not voting in his favor even if it means taking it hit on issues they want to pass. In the long run, this could also build a better relationship between the battling parties.
“I don’t think it will be helpful” for the GOP in the November elections, said Sen. Ron Johnson (R. Wis), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee on CBS’s Face the Nation. “So let’s try to avoid it.”
“I don’t think we’re going to shut down the government,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R., Ohio), who chairs the House Republicans’ campaign arm, said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “We’re going to get better policies on immigration. We need border security.”
Democrats appear to be unmoved by the threatening tweet.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) tweeted Sunday, “President Shutdown is at it again – how many times will he threaten to shut down the government—putting Virginia’s and our nation’s economy at risk, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of federal workers—before he realizes this is not a game”
Last week, Trump met with Republican leaders in Congress to discuss a plan that would avoid a shutdown in the fall but it didn’t prevent him from tweeting the threat. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), presented Trump with a plan that would fund the government and delay the debate over immigration until after the midterm elections in November.