Trump Pushes ‘Nuclear Option’ Ahead of Crucial Senate Border Wall Funding Vote

President urges McConnell to fight 'as hard as he fought for anything' with gov't shutdown deadline ahead

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In a series of tweets on Friday morning, President Donald Trump urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “fight for the wall and border security as hard as he fought for anything” against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) by invoking the so-called “nuclear option” to pass a budget ahead of a looming shutdown deadline.

With less than two weeks to go until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) presumably becomes House speaker as a new Democratic majority takes over, Trump is fighting hard to pass border wall funding while the GOP controls Congress.

Trump threatened a partial government shutdown over border security last week during a contentious Oval Office meeting with Schumer and Pelosi. Although the president appeared to waver this week in favor of keeping the government open, he doubled down on Thursday as the House considered a bill without wall funding.

The House ultimately passed a stopgap bill with $5 billion for the border wall on Thursday. The Senate, which passed a budget without border wall funding earlier this week, will vote Friday afternoon on the border wall funding.

In one of his tweets this morning, Trump said, “He [McConnell] will need Democrat votes, but as shown in the House, good things happen. If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat shutdown! House Republicans were great yesterday!”

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The president thanked the House for its vote in favor of border wall funding, tweeting, “No matter what happens today in the Senate, Republican House members should be very proud of themselves. They flew back to Washington from all parts of the world in order to vote for border security and the wall. Not one Democrat voted yes, and we won big. I am very proud of you!”

Trump also slammed Democrats for “trying to belittle the concept of a wall” and panning it as “old fashioned” as he made his final pitch ahead of the vote.

“The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against border security and the wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want open borders and crime!” Trump warned.

The president claimed, “Shutdown today if Democrats do not vote for border security!”

Trump also urged McConnell to fight with any tactic he could to secure the funding — even if it meant invoking the nuclear option.

“Mitch, use the nuclear option and get it done! Our country is counting on you!” Trump tweeted.

Normally a budget bill would require 60 senators to vote for it in order to pass. But invoking the nuclear option lowers the threshold to 50 votes.

Related: This Looks Like ‘Another Schumer Shutdown’ if Senate Fails on Border Wall Funding

McConnell has used the nuclear option many times during Trump’s first two years in office to pass judges — including Supreme Court justices — amid the Democrats’ staunch resistance.

Republicans, however, currently have only a 51-49 majority, which includes a few moderate Republicans and anti-Trump Republicans who aren’t thrilled with the prospect of a wall.

Trump praised Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) for calling on Twitter for the nuclear option.

Daines tweeted Thursday night, “House just passed a bill that fully funds government and enables @realDonaldTrump to secure our border/build the wall. Senate can do same by eliminating the filibuster. 51 votes, same as we do for judges!”

“Thank you @SteveDaines for being willing to go with the so-called nuclear option in order to win on DESPERATELY NEEDED border security! Have my total support,” Trump reacted.

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