The Slatest

Trump Threatens Shutdown Over Immigration as Part of Unhinged Sunday Tweetstorm

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, MD, on July 27, 2018.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, MD, on July 27, 2018.
JIM WATSON/Getty Images

President Donald Trump seems to have woken up Sunday morning itching to tweet. The president started firing off tweets at 7:31 a.m. and by 9:13 a.m. he had sent out 10 messages, including self-retweets. Trump left the most newsworthy ítem for last, threatening a shutdown if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall with Mexico and change the country’s immigration laws. “I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!” Trump tweeted.

Although Trump had previously said that he was willing to push the government into a shutdown to get what he wants on immigration, many had said the president wouldn’t actually greenlight such a drastic move mere weeks before the midterm elections. “I have to say, that tweet kind of shocks me. And not much actually shocks me from this president,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan said on Fox News Sunday. Swan said the president’s advisers have been trying to get him to see that shutting down the government weeks before the election wouldn’t be smart politics.

The shutdown threat came as something of a full circle as the president started off his Sunday tweetstorm talking about immigration. He started his string of tweets by quoting Tom Homan, the former director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), saying no one had done more for border security than Trump. On the issue of border security he also tweeted out a warning that sounded like a justification for family separation at the border. “Please understand, there are consequences when people cross our Border illegally, whether they have children or not—and many are just using children for their own sinister purposes,” Trump wrote.

The president also continued his attacks on his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Trump retweeted an old Cohen tweet in which he praises Donald Trump Jr. “Do you think the Fake News Media will ever report on this tweet from Michael?” Trump asked.

At another point in the two-hour tweeting window, Trump also said he met with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger at the White House. The president said the two chatted about “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’ Sad!” Sulzberger issued a statement responding to the president’s tweet: “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”

The commander in chief also managed to do a bit of lying, claiming, as he has done before, that he is the most popular president in the history of the Republican Party. “Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party,” Trump wrote. “That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.” Even ignoring the fact that widespread public polling didn’t’ begin until the 1930s, the truth is “Trump remains less popular among his party than a number of his recent predecessors,” notes Politico.