President Trump called into Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program to congratulate him on the 30th anniversary of his show. The president said he is open to a government shutdown over immigration whether it is before or after the midterm election.
"I’m not doing it for politics," Trump said about his focus on immigration. "I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. So I’m not looking at politics. But I happen to think that border security would be a good thing before the election, but there are many people within our party that are good people that are like you that agree with you on everything you say. But they’d rather do it after."
Transcript, via RushLimbaugh.com:
RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST: Well, but your key… You know, I do understand it. I understand the bond that those people attending your rallies have with you and you with them. I’ve seen it. I know why it exists. And you are consistent. Things you said during the campaign are things you still say today. You haven’t given anybody reason to doubt you. You haven’t betrayed anybody or made them think that you’re going to. An example: Here you are suggesting that you’d be willing to maybe — you’d talk about — shutting down the government if that’s what it took to get this wall built.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
RUSH: Now the traditional Republican says, “Oh, no! No! Don’t say that!” There you are saying, “Oh, yeah. I’ll be glad to do it if that’s what it takes.”
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I actually think it would be positive.
RUSH: People don’t understand your voters rally to you for that.
THE PRESIDENT: We had Obamacare repealed and replaced, and a man — I won’t mention his name. But a man at 2 o’clock in the morning went thumbs down, and he campaigned for years on repeal and replace. We had the chance. Nobody even spoke to him about it, because it was something that was unthinkable what he did, and because of that… But still, I have just about ended Obamacare. We have great health care. We have a lot of great things happening right now. New programs are coming out.
We got rid of the individual mandate. But that was very disappointing to me that night — and he did it because of me, probably. But that was very disappointing. That was a horrible thing he did to our country. And, frankly, it cost $1 trillion because we would have saved $1 trillion, on top of which we would have had good health care. But we’re doing it a different way. We have to go a different route. But he cost us a trillion dollars. And the other thing is the wall. We’ve started it. It’s like pulling teeth, though, getting these guys to get it done is. You have no idea how tough I’ve been.
I say, “Hey, if you have a shutdown, you have a shutdown.”
Now, the shutdown could also take place after the election. I happen to think it’s a great political thing, because people want border security. It’s not just the wall, Rush, as you know. It’s border security. It’s getting rid of catch-and-release, where you catch somebody, he can be a criminal of the highest order, and you have to release him! You catch him, you take his name, and you release him. And then you have the visa lottery. It’s a lottery system where you pick people out of a lottery. Well, the countries aren’t giving us their best people. They’re giving us people that they don’t want. So we’re taking people out of a lottery that the country doesn’t want. We’re getting some beauties.
THE PRESIDENT: And then you have, you know, so many other things.
THE PRESIDENT: We have to change the laws. We have the worst laws! How about chain migration? One person comes in and you end up with 32 people. The person that ran down 18 people on the West Side Highway, he’s allowed to have — and I think eight died. He has 22 members of his family in the United States because of chain migration. So we have to change this stuff, Rush. And we’ll get it done, but we have to change it, Rush. If we don’t change it, it will just go down, down, down. And it will get done. One way or the other, it’s getting done. But I’d be willing to do it. And you could do it before the election or after the election.
RUSH: Well, speaking of before, as a campaign issue, I saw a couple consultants say… I don’t need to mention their names. They’re Washington, D.C., professionals.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
RUSH: They said that you need to drop this immigration stuff, Mr. President. You’re cruising for defeat if you base the midterms on this.
THE PRESIDENT: I know. I’ve heard that. (chuckles)
RUSH: You need to pivot back onto the economy, start telling people what a great economy we have, ’cause that’s the only way the Republicans can have a chance of holding the House in the midterms. What do you think about that advice?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’ve heard them. Probably different people than you, but I’ve heard a lot of people saying, “Oh, don’t do it before the election, we’ll upset the applecart,” and because we are doing so well economically we should do well — and, you know, the polls are okay. It’s very interesting. My polls are great, but the question is, “Is it transferable?” Now, it certainly was in Florida because you saw Ron DeSantis, who’s gotten a tremendous — you know, many, many, many points. The governor of Georgia where he was down by five and he won by 40 after I endorsed him. (chuckling) That was pretty good. That was almost like your endorsement. ...
THE PRESIDENT: If you take a look at Congressman Donovan from Staten Island where he was down by 10 and he wins by 24. So we’ve had a lot of impact. And that’s why I’m going around. But I have to say that I have heard this theory. I happen to think it’s a good thing politically. I’m not doing it for politics. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. So I’m not looking at politics. But I happen to think that border security would be a good thing before the election, but there are many people within our party that are good people that are like you that agree with you on everything you say. But they’d rather do it after. They don’t agree on doing it before, and I accept their opinion, but I happen to think it would be a good thing to do before. I actually think we’d get more and there’d be more pressure on the other side, because we’re doing it because the Democrats are not giving us the votes.
Read the entire transcript here.