President Donald Trump really wants his border wall funded, but according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, he’s fine with delaying an immigration battle until after the midterms if it means preserving the Republican majority in Congress.
Immigration is arguably the most contentious issue for the Republican party right now, and what to do about border security — and whether a border wall is necessary, and how one should be funded — are questions that could tear the GOP apart. With Trump threatening to push for a government shutdown if billions aren’t appropriated to build a physical wall on the southern border, an immigration clash now could be deadly.
So even as Trump is publicly demanding concessions, privately, the WSJ says, he’s playing the “art of the deal.”
“The president made it very clear to the leadership that a fight was coming and he’s done putting it off,” an administration official told the paper. Trump, however, “understands the political practicalities of having to put it off until after the election but it’s coming in early November and early December.”
“The president sees merit in having this battle after the election,” the official added.
While the GOP is projected to keep the Senate, recent polls show trouble for House Republicans and the current House majority. There’s no need to further imperil GOP Members in swing or soft districts by forcing them to take sides on an issue that so severely divides the party. Trump is smart to play cool; in return for being understanding on this point, he might win concessions on border wall funding later on.
The problem for Republicans is, of course, that there are still 90-plus days until the November mid-terms: plenty of time for Trump to change his mind multiple times.