Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' if Democrats don't get behind his immigration plan

  • President Donald Trump says he would "love" to see a shutdown if Democrats do not back his immigration plan and Congress cannot strike a deal.
  • Government funding will lapse if Congress cannot pass a spending bill by the end of Thursday.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would "love" to see a government shutdown if lawmakers cannot strike an immigration deal.

His comment came even as Senate leaders cited progress on spending talks.

"If we don't get rid of these loopholes ... if we don't change it, let's have a shutdown. We'll do a shutdown," Trump said at a meeting with law enforcement officials where he discussed possible changes to immigration laws.

"I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of," he added.

Trump called for a government shutdown over immigration around the same time as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sounded an optimistic tone about reaching a spending deal. McConnell told reporters he was "optimistic that very soon we'll be able to reach an agreement."

The government's funding authority would lapse for the second time in two months if Congress cannot pass a spending bill by the end of Thursday.

Democrats had tied efforts to reach an agreement on spending caps to a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. Trump wants multiple concessions, including restrictions on legal immigration that Democrats do not support, as part of an immigration bill.

McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will move forward with debating an immigration plan once leaders can reach a deal to keep the government open.

On Tuesday, Schumer told reporters that he and McConnell made progress toward a spending deal that would raise caps for both defense spending and nondefense programs Democrats have supported. Asked about Trump's shutdown comments, Schumer said he did not want to see government funding lapse again.

"We had one Trump shutdown. Nobody wants another, maybe except him," the New York Democrat said.

After Trump made his comments in the immigration meeting, a member of his party in attendance rebuffed him.

"We don't need a government shutdown on this," said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va. "I think both sides learned that a government shutdown was bad."

Trump responded that, "You can say what you want, we're not getting support from the Democrats on this legislation."

Later Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House is "not advocating for a shutdown" and argued that a shutdown would fall on Democrats for "not being willing to do their jobs." Trump wants a long-term spending deal and an agreement on immigration, she said.

She added that she does not expect a spending bill this week to include specifics on an immigration deal.