Trump promises government shutdown to build Mexico border wall
PHOENIXUnited States President Donald Trump on Aug. 22 promised to shut down the U.S. government if necessary to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said in a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. “We’re going to have our wall. The American people voted for immigration control. We’re going to get that wall.”
Trump had insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, estimated to cost about $22 billion. Having failed in that bid, he has turned to equally reticent Republicans in Congress to get U.S. funding.
With his plan running into political quicksand, Trump needs to generate public pressure on reluctant lawmakers to support him.
But with a budget battle looming, Trump said he would be willing to risk a politically damaging government shutdown in order to secure funding for the wall.
A failure on the wall would be another setback for a president who has seen his message overshadowed by controversy and his agenda thwarted by legislative missteps.
The speech came at the end of his trip to Arizona aimed to tout the benefits of a border fence, turn up the heat on reluctant allies and demonstrate his determination to realize a central campaign pledge.
Supporters, who lined up for hours in the Arizona heat ahead of the event, chanted: “Build the wall.” Many wore red hats with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
The president began his day in Yuma, touring a U.S. Border Patrol operations base, where he chatted with border agents. He traveled to Phoenix for the raucous campaign-style rally in the evening, introduced to the crowd by Vice President Mike Pence.
After the rally, a day of noisy but largely peaceful protests outside the Phoenix convention center turned unruly as police fired pepper spray at crowds after someone apparently lobbed rocks and bottles at officers.
Protesters outside the rally yelled: “Shame, shame, shame” and “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA” as the Trump supporters began filing into the Phoenix Convention Center.
Police have not given an estimate of the number of protesters, but Arizona media said there were several thousand.
“People in the crowd have begun throwing rocks and bottles at police,” Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sergeant Jonathan Howard said.
Four people were arrested during the protest, three on assault charges, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said during a news conference.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, had asked him to postpone the event while the nation healed from outrage and division after the deadly rally in Charlottesville.
A heavy police presence was deployed around the Phoenix venue for Trump’s first trip as president to Arizona, which he won in the 2016 election.