An unnamed official in the Trump administration reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that President Trump has agreed to a plan pitched by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to wait until after the midterm elections to have a fight over border wall funding.
Over the weekend, the president tweeted that he would be willing to shut down the government if Democrats did not support funding for a wall on the U.S. - Mexico border.
I would be willing to “shut down” government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which i… https://t.co/Tt1F0wywhv— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1532870039.0
At a press conference Monday, the president doubled-down on his shutdown threat, saying "If we don't get border security after many, many, many years of talk within the Untied States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown"
But today The Wall Street Journal reports that regardless of the president's recent warnings about shutting down the government on September 30 if Democrats refuse to vote for a spending bill that funds the wall, Trump intends to wait until after the elections to stand up to the Democrats.
Mr. Trump discussed the budget standoff last week in an Oval Office meeting with top aides and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis). Mr. Trump supports a plan to avert a shutdown before the election by passing some less-controversial spending bills and a short-term patch that would keep the rest of the government running, the administration official said.
“The president made it very clear to the leadership that a fight was coming and he’s done putting it off,” the administration official said. Still “he understands the political practicalities of having to put it off until after the election but it’s coming in early November and early December.” He added: “The president sees merit in having this battle after the election.”
One possibility under discussion is coupling more modest immigration law changes with some of the near-term spending bills needed to keep the government running, to show some progress on the issue.
If true, the president and Republican leadership in Congress are making a huge mistake. Republicans are likely to lose control of the House of Representatives in the midterm election. If Trump waits until after the election to fight for the wall, he is essentially disarming himself by inviting the Democrats to take the majority in the House and use that leverage to prevent Trump from advancing his agenda.
Let's be clear. If Democrats gain control, if Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker again, there will be no funding for the wall. The Trump tax cuts will not be made permanent. Congress will not pass welfare reform. Congress will not cut spending. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will play defense for the FBI, the DOJ, and the Mueller probe, launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, harass ICE with subpoenas and hearings to defend illegal immigrants, and turn up the anti-Trump #resistance to 11 because they'll believe that's what put them in power.
The only way Republicans have a shot at keeping their majority is if they use the fail to fight for their priorities. That may mean risking a government shutdown, but who exactly loses a debate on border security and immigration? The Democrats already shut down the government once this year, holding funding for the military hostage because they wanted amnesty for illegal aliens. The public outcry against their stupid antics was swift, and fierce, and they were forced to back down after only three days.
Ryan and McConnell refuse to learn from that experience. They don't want to have the fight. And if Trump and the GOP refuses to have the fight, they're going to lose.
And if they lose, isn't that an argument for new leadership?
Editor’s Note: The first paragraph was amended to clarify the report is based on an anonymous source.