President Trump in a new interview refused to say whether he would sign an upcoming spending bill to keep the government running if it does not include funding for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In an interview with published on Sunday, Trump insisted the wall will not be “that expensive” when first asked about signing the budget.
His political opponents do not want the wall and are digging in against including funding for it in a bill to keep the government funded past its April 28 deadline. Trump initially promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, though that country has said it will not.
On Sunday, Trump said Mexico will eventually pay for it.
“The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members,” Trump on Twitter.
“Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”
But when pushed to say whether he would force a government shutdown over the issue, Trump declined to answer.
“I don’t want to comment. I just don’t know yet. I mean, I have to see what’s going on. I really do,” he told The AP.
“But the wall’s a very important thing to — not only my base, but to the people. And even if it wasn’t, I mean I’ll do things that aren’t necessarily popular. … The wall is very important to stopping drugs.”
Funding for the border wall is central to budget negotiations this week, as lawmakers have until April 28 to pass legislation to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown.
White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney Democrats concessions on ObamaCare payments in exchange for border wall funding.
The office of Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.) dismissed the offer as a “nonstarter.”