President Donald Trump said Wednesday that although he was in favor of shutting down the government over his immigration and border security demands — which he justified with a string of provable lies — he was considering delaying any such action until after the approaching elections, in order to accommodate some Republicans who’ve warned a shutdown would be catastrophic for the 2018 midterms.
“I say, ‘Hey, if you have a shutdown, have a shutdown,’” Trump told Rush Limbaugh, after calling into Limbaugh’s show to celebrate its 30th anniversary. “Now, the shutdown could also take place after the election.”
He added: “I happen to think it’s a great political thing, because people want border security.”
In addition to demanding billions more in congressional funding to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump repeated his desire to get rid of so-called “catch and release,” a phrase that describes the release of certain undocumented immigrants from detention centers ahead of court dates.
Trump said the policy meant that “criminal[s] of the highest order” had to be released, but that’s simply never been true.
In fact, most undocumented immigrants arrested at the border are detained until their deportation. Exceptions include children and asylum-seekers — vulnerable populations protected by federal and international laws that the Trump administration, in many cases, has tried to minimize or circumvent. (Aslyum-seekers have been systematically held indefinitely by the Trump administration; a federal judge recently ordered them to cut it out.)
Trump then falsely said that New York City truck attack suspect Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov “has 22 members of his family in the United States because of chain migration,” a popular phrase among conservatives for the laws that make it easier for the immediate families of legal inhabitants of the United States to immigrate here.
Finally, Trump said that, as a result of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, “countries aren’t giving us their best people, they’re giving us people they don’t want.”
The White House has peddled this lie before as well.
“I happen to think it’s a good thing, politically,” Trump told Limbaugh toward the end of the call, referring to a government shutdown. He added: “A lot of good people, though, would ask me, in the nicest of ways, ‘Can we do it after the election?’”