(CN) — President Donald Trump doubled down Monday on an earlier threat to shut down the government ahead of this fall’s mid-term elections, saying he has “no problem” doing so if congressional lawmakers don’t agree to provide additional border security funding.
“It’s time we had border security, ” Trump said during a joint press conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
And while he continued to brandish a threat he’d made earlier on Twitter, Trump said “I’ll always leave room for negotiation.”
Trump’s tweet, coming as most of Washington was focused on other things, including the effort to win confirmation for the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, said he “would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!”
“Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” he tweeted.
The presidential eruption appears to put Trump add odds with his party’s congressional leaders.
Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told a radio interviewer that a shutdown so close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections won’t happen.
And speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “The president’s willing to be patient to make sure that we get what we need so that we can get that done.”
He added that money for the wall was “not a question of if, it’s a question of when.”
Trump has gotten some wall money from Congress, and likely will get more, though the total is short of the $25 billion he has requested.
He also wants changes to legal immigration, including scrapping a visa lottery program. In addition, Trump wants to end the practice of releasing immigrants caught entering the country illegally on the condition that they show up for court hearings, along with shifting the U.S. immigration system to one based more on individual merit and less on family ties.
Democrats and some Republicans have objected to those proposals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.