Trump Repeats Threat of Federal Shutdown to Get His Border Wall

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump renewed a threat to close down the federal government when current funding runs out in September if immigration reforms and funding for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico aren’t forthcoming.

“We may have to close up our country to get this straight,” Trump said Saturday during an event in Cleveland focused on the benefits of the 2017 Republican tax overhaul. People in the U.S. illegally are exploiting a “catch and release” policy, Trump said.

The president made similar comments on a potential shutdown during a rally in Michigan a week ago, and in a Twitter message on Friday described the southern U.S. border as under siege. “Congress must act now to change our weak and ineffective immigration laws. Must build a Wall,” Trump tweeted.

Trump also said Saturday that the U.S. is “going to have to” rework its trade relationship with China. “It can’t go on that way,” he said, adding “don’t let anyone ever tell you that trade deficits are OK.”

A high-level delegation from Trump’s administration just returned from a visit to Beijing, part of a broader attempt to stave off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. Trump was expected to meet with members of the team on Saturday.

Election Focus

The president has done a series of events this year aimed at touting the tax law, almost exclusively in states where Democratic senators face tough re-election races. After stops last month in West Virginia and Florida, Trump’s visit to Ohio comes days before that state’s upcoming Senate contest.

Representative Jim Renacci, whom Trump has endorsed, is seeking the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary. The GOP winner will face incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in November.

Trump has lamented the slim margin Republicans hold in the Senate, where they control 51 out of 100 seats. He’s traveled to several states where he won in 2016, touting his agenda and criticizing Democrats who’ve opposed him.

“We have to win the midterms,’’ Trump said Friday during a speech to the National Rifle Association’s annual leadership summit in Dallas.

Earlier Saturday, Trump attended a Republican Party fundraiser at Cleveland’s Ritz-Carlton hotel that raised about $3 million.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.