President Trump said Tuesday he is not backing down on the $5 billion figure for his border wall and threatened to shut down the government if Democrats block the funding in Congress.
Mr. Trump told Politico he would “totally be willing” to go through with a shutdown if the Democrats stick with the $1.6 billion that New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer endorsed on Tuesday.
The president also said he plans to use the funds only for the border wall — and expects to receive more money for border security overall.
Undeterred by the potential political consequences of a government shutdown, Mr. Trump said the border wall battle is good for his party.
“Politically speaking, that issue is a total winner,” he told Politico. “People look at the border, they look at the rush to the police, they look at the rock throwers and really hurting three people, three very brave border patrol folks — I think that it’s a tremendous issue, but much more importantly, is really needed. So we have to have border security.”
Despite his firm stance with Politico, the president struck a much different tune in another interview Tuesday with The Washington Post. He told the newspaper that if the funding doesn’t come through, he’d continue on with the border wall.
“There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, just coming in with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things,” he told The Post.
Without passing a spending bill by Dec. 7, the State, Homeland, Justice and other departments will shut down.