President Trump sent some mixed signals Tuesday about just how far he’ll push a showdown over funding for his border wall with Mexico. In interviews with The Washington Post and Politico, Trump both signaled a willingness to consider a Plan B for border security and insisted he would "totally be willing" to shut down the government if he doesn't get the $5 billion he wants for the wall.
Trump to The Washington Post: “We need Democrat votes to have a wall. Now, if we don’t get it, will I get it done another way? I might get it done another way. There are other potential ways that I can do it. You saw what we did with the military, just coming in with the barbed wire and the fencing, and various other things.”
Trump to Politico, when asked if he’s firm on the $5 billion demand: "I am firm. We need border security, of which a wall is part of it. But we need border security.”
There’s a fight ahead: “If Trump is truly unmovable from $5 billion, this is going to be a long December fight, because we can't imagine Democrats moving up to that,” Politico’s Playbook team says. And Trump might be fine with that. He told his Politico interviewers that, while he doesn’t do anything just for political gain, he believes that his position on the border wall “is a total winner.”
Or not: “If history is any guide, expect Trump to loudly advertise his displeasure about Congress rebuffing his demands, before deciding that the fight isn’t worth sacrificing Executive Time to continue,” writes New York’s Eric Levitz.