President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would rather have a government shutdown fight over his immigration and border security demands before the midterm elections this November than afterward.
“I would personally prefer before, but whether it’s before or after, we’re either getting it or we’re closing down government,” Trump said. “We need border security. We need border security.”
The President said “a lot of great Republicans” had pointed to the strength of the economy and did not want to “complicate” that as voters prepare to head to the polls in elections that will decide control of Congress.
“I understand it,” he said. “I’m a little torn myself.”
Trump, who was speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday evening, said prominent conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity thought the shutdown fight should come before the elections.
“You know who thinks it should be before? Rush Limbaugh thinks it should be before,” Trump said. “You know who else? Sean Hannity. A lot of ’em.”
Trump tweeted last weekend that he would be willing to shut down the government if Democrats in Congress did not agree to impose his preferred immigration laws and to fund his border security measures, including the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. He reiterated the threat in person on Monday, although he said he would “leave room for negotiation.”
On Monday, some top Republicans in Congress declined to sign on to the shutdown threat before the September spending deadline.