“I support what the president is trying to do on the wall,” Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “Most of my members do as well.”
“We’re going to continue to discuss it with him, and hope that this process can achieve what he would like to achieve on the wall,” McConnell continued, “and also get these appropriations bills signed into law, which is quite different than what’s happened in the past.”
Both McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan want to avoid the border wall issue as best as possible until after November’s midterm elections. Both of them met with President Donald Trump to that effect, and sources close to the matter claimed the president had been convinced to put off the debate until 2019.
Trump, however, does not seem to have gotten that memo: “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall,” Trump tweeted on July 29. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized the president’s determination to force a decision at all costs — even if that includes a government shutdown. “Usually the person that loses the shutdown is the person who caused it,” he said. “And Donald Trump is making no bones about it, that he might think of causing it.”
Schumer’s party caused their own shutdown over immigration issues earlier this year. Still, Schumer said that he “would hope my Republican colleagues have the strength to resist the president’s interference.”
McConnell and the president have seldom been on the same page. Earlier this month Trump ignored McConnell’s suggestion of Ray Kethledge for SCOTUS, instead choosing Judge Brett Kavanaugh. McConnell has canceled the August recess, blaming “the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees” for nullifying the break that would have stretched from August 3 until Labor Day.