President Trump is threatening chaos to win concessions from Congress on his immigration demands, disrupting Republican leaders’ carefully scripted plan to avoid a politically disastrous government shutdown just weeks before the midterm elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) have laid out a strategy to fund more than half of federal agencies by Sept. 30, punting some of the more contentious fights — such as money for Trump’s long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall — until after the elections. But the president’s conflicting signals — encouraging in private, hard-line in public — call into question whether the GOP leaders’ plan will succeed.
“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 Monday, reiterating a point he made on Twitter over the weekend. That comes nearly one week after Ryan and McConnell briefed Trump on their strategy to fund the government in piecemeal installments well before the September deadline.