National Security

Trump Must ‘Pick the Right Timing’ to Push for Border Wall, McCarthy Says

If president shuts down the government in September, Dems 'would take advantage of that' ahead of midterm elections

If President Donald Trump shuts down the government in September over border wall funding, Democrats “would take advantage of that right before” the November midterm elections because timing “is everything,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned Tuesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

“Now, [Trump] campaigned on the wall, and Congress hasn’t delivered on the wall that he campaigned on. And I believe the American people want this enforcement done,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham told McCarthy. “What’s your read on this? Would a government shutdown hurt Republican chances in November?”

McCarthy replied, “I think timing is everything. If you shut down [on] the 30th [of September], and you’ve got 60 votes in the Senate, the Democrats would take advantage of that right before the election.”

Trump alarmed many Republicans when he issued his first threat for a September shutdown on Twitter Sunday, noting that he was unafraid to take action if Congress failed to include key immigration enforcement items and border wall funding in its next spending bill.

He repeated his threat Monday during a joint press conference with the visiting Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte.

“As far as the border is concerned, and personally — if we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Trump warned. “It’s time we had proper border security. We’re the laughingstock of the world.”

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And Trump insisted on Twitter Tuesday, “I don’t care what the political ramifications are, 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 … Border Security is National Security, and National Security is the long-term viability of our Country. A Government Shutdown is a very small price to pay for a safe and Prosperous America!”

Although McCarthy urged Trump to think carefully before shutting down the government in September over border wall funding, he insisted that he still believes Congress should give Trump the funding he has demanded.

“Now let’s be very clear — we have put money into the wall. We are currently building the wall, but we have to finish the wall,” McCarthy said without revealing when he believed Congress should “finish” funding the wall.

“We’ve got a lot farther to go. And in the House, it’s not a problem. It’s the Senate and the rules of where we go,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got to pick the right timing when we have this.”

As Republicans fight to maintain their majorities in both the House and the Senate come November, McCarthy urged his party and the president to focus on positive issues and promote Trump’s economic successes.

Related: Trump Doubles Down on ‘Build the Wall’ Shutdown Threat

“What’s happened, though, since this tax cut went through — 1 million new jobs. Women in America — the unemployment for women is at the lowest point it’s been in 60 years,” McCarthy said.

Ingraham said she believes Trump should portray himself as “the happy warrior,” noting that he was a “happy warrior tonight” at his rally in Tampa, Florida.

McCarthy agreed, saying, “If people really saw the President Trump I always see, he is a happy warrior. He’s a lot like when you watched Ronald Reagan. If you believe your policies bring people more freedom and liberty, you should be a happy conservative.”

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