President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the federal government “could” shut down at midnight on Friday if Democrats and Republicans do not reach a deal to continue funding it.
“It could happen,” Trump told reporters during a cabinet meeting at the White House.
Trump said that Democrats “are looking at shutting down” the government over their policy demands, though Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House.
“The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous to our country,” he said. “They want to have illegal immigrants, in many case, people that we don’t want in our country. They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country, bringing with them crime, tremendous amounts of crime. We don’t want to have that.”
Trump in September suggested he would work with Democrats to restore legal protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, which he ended by winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The Washington Post reported last week, however, that Trump has told advisers he wants to cater to his far-right base and maintain a hardline position on immigration as the Friday deadline to fund the government fast approaches.
According to the report, Trump told confidants that if the government shuts down, he will simply blame Democrats, though his party controls all three branches of the government.
White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short denied those accounts, and claimed Trump is “not advocating for a shutdown in any way.”