The U.S. Capitol stands at sunrise past the Senate Russell office building rotunda in Washington, D.C. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Trump Says Pre-Election Shutdown Is the Best Strategy for Funding Border Wall

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said a government shutdown before the November election would boost Republican political fortunes and be more effective to win funding for a border wall.

But he acknowledged many in his party disagree, leaving unclear whether he would pursue the strategy.

“They’d rather do it after, they don’t agree on doing it before, and I accept their opinion, but I happen to think it’d be a good thing to do before,” Trump said Wednesday during an interview on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. “I actually think we’d get more and there’d be more pressure on the other side, because we’re doing it because the Democrats are not giving us the votes.”

Trump said his preferred shutdown strategy was risky, but said it would increase pressure on Democrats to capitulate to his demand for sweeping changes to immigration law.

“If you do it afterwards, there’s less pressure, there’s less risk,” Trump said. “I’m just not sure you’d ever make as good a deal.”

Still, Trump suggested he may heed the warnings of congressional Republicans, who have sought assurances the president won’t force a shutdown in the weeks before a midterm election in which Democrats are currently favored to pick up seats. Trump said members of his party had asked “in the nicest of ways” to push the immigration fight until after the election, and acknowledged many of those lawmakers had offered “a lot of good support.”

“I don’t want to disappoint a lot of very good people that are working with me,” Trump said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump was “not focused on the timing” of a potential shutdown but instead focused on achieving “results” that would overhaul the immigration system.

“He is begging for Congress, particularly democrats to step up, do their jobs, stop kicking the ball down the field,” Sanders said.

Trump vowed earlier in the week to press for a government shutdown to win funding for his signature border wall regardless of the political consequences.

“I don’t care what the political ramifications are,” Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Our immigration laws and border security have been a complete and total disaster for decades, and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a Government Shutdown.”

He added in another tweet that a government shutdown “is a very small price to pay.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.