Trump Continues To Threaten Shutdown Despite Pushback From GOP Leaders

President Donald Trump’s latest threats to shut down the government when current funding expires at the end of September do not appear to be stirring up much concern on Capitol Hill, but Trump may have more to gain from a high-stakes showdown over illegal immigration weeks before the midterm elections than from allowing the cooler heads in the Republican Party to prevail.

“Because Trump is unpredictable, I think people should take the threat seriously. Government in Washington doesn’t do a darn thing…unless it’s got a gun to its head,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

“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,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

This is far from the first time the president has threatened to shutter the government over border security funding, but ever since he begrudgingly signed off on a bipartisan spending deal earlier this year, he has been adamant that he will not do so again in September if he does not get what he wants.

That is the message he has sent publicly, at least. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump has privately agreed to postpone the border wall standoff until after the midterms at the request of Republican congressional leadership.

Given the blowback Republicans have faced over shutdowns in the past, O’Connell recognized why some in leadership are resistant, but he is skeptical the party would take the kind of hit others predict over it if it helps motivate the president’s base to vote.

“There is no issue that drives Republican turnout more than immigration,” he said.

The Democratic base has been electrified since Trump took office, and the GOP needs to match that intensity. A 4.1 percent unemployment rate and 4.1 percent economic growth might be enough for the party in power to retain control of Congress in normal times, but these are not normal times.

“It’s going to come down to which party can better turn out its base,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at WJLA

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