Trump Says He Wants Shutdown Over Wall, But Not Before Election

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he’d like to shut down the U.S. government to try to force congressional Democrats to fund a wall along the Mexican border, but likely won’t do it before the midterm elections.

Other Republicans “don’t want to do anything that would upset the apple cart,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News before a rally in Billings, Montana on Thursday. “My inclination, if it was up to me, I would shut down the government over border security.”

“I don’t want to do anything that is going to hurt us or potentially hurt us because I have a feeling that the Republicans are going to do very well,” he continued. “Most likely I will not do that but we are going to do it immediately after the election.”

Trump said he had a “commitment” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to force a budget showdown with Democrats over the wall “right after the election.”

Trump has recently asked advisers whether it would be good politics to provoke an October government shutdown fight over money for the border wall, even though Republicans in Congress say it could backfire on them.

Republican leaders thought they had persuaded Trump weeks ago to delay any such confrontation until later in the year, but the president raised the prospect of an earlier showdown in conversations in recent days with at least three aides and outside advisers, according to people familiar with the matter.

In Montana, Trump also called his White House a “well-oiled machine” in response to questions about an anonymous op-ed published Wednesday in the New York Times.

The author of the piece, a person the Times identified as a senior administration official, wrote that some of Trump’s political appointees have sought to thwart parts of his agenda to protect the country. Publication of the op-ed enraged the president and threw the White House into fresh turmoil as his Cabinet members scrambled to issue statements Thursday insisting they weren’t the authors.

Trump said in the interview that the Times shouldn’t have published the op-ed, and speculated that a low-level aide was the author.

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