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Trump Goes Full Kamikaze On Congress: ‘Fund The Wall Or I Shut Down Government’


Trump Goes Full Kamikaze On Congress: ‘Fund The Wall Or I Shut Down Government’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday descended into a deranged attack against his own party and threatened a government shutdown if lawmakers don’t fund his long-promised border wall.

The erratic president widened his extraordinary rift with key Republicans, whose votes he needs heading into a crucial legislative period, during a rambling speech in Phoenix, Arizona late Tuesday.

“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Mr. Trump told a raucous rally as his supporters chanted, “Build that wall!”

“The American people voted for immigration control — that’s one of the reasons I’m here,” he added. “One way or the other, we’re going to get that wall.”

The escalating tensions between Trump and the GOP Congress endanger delicate negotiations in the coming weeks to keep the government running and avoid a costly default on the country’s debt. They are the clearest signs to date that the uncomfortable alliance between Mr. Trump, who won the presidency promising to “drain the swamp,” and Republican lawmakers who hoped to enact long-stalled conservative priorities, has begun to fray.

On Wednesday, he followed up on the threat by attacking Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican who has said he is skeptical of building a border wall between the United States and Mexico unless, as Mr. Trump promised, Mexico pays for it. Mr. Flake is one of two Republican senators up for re-election next year in a swing state, and the president has put his finger on the scale toward a primary challenger, Kelli Ward.

“Not a fan of Jeff Flake,” Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post. “Weak on crime & border!”

Trump also hit Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), blaming the Senate leader for failing to blow up long-standing Senate rules that make most legislation subject to a filibuster that requires 60 votes to overcome.

“If Republican Senate doesn’t get rid of the Filibuster Rule & go to a simple majority, which the Dems would do, they are just wasting time!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

Congressional leaders distanced themselves from the president’s threat. Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin said on Wednesday in Oregon that no one wanted a dispute over the border wall to result in a lapse in government funding, adding that he did not believe that such a confrontation would be necessary.

McConnell, however, questioned Trump’s willingness to learn how to govern and expressed doubts on the president’s ability to lead the GOP into the 2018 midterm elections after a summer of controversies and crises.

During the 2016 presidential election, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Now he’s demanding US taxpayers to pay for it.

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