Ban­non pre­dicts Trump will shut govern­ment down over wall funds

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Doug Stan­glin “If that ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill does not in­clude spend­ing to fully build his wall ... I be­lieve he will shut down the govern­ment.” Steve Ban­non Former White House strate­gist

Ousted White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non pre­dicts an­other govern­ment shut­down be­fore the midterm elec­tions over Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­sis­tence that Congress fund his long-promised bor­der wall.

“I be­lieve the govern­ment will ac­tu­ally shut down in the run-up to the elec­tion,” Ban­non told CNN’s Fa­reed Zakaria in an in­ter­view that aired Fri­day night.

“The wall is not just totemic,” Ban­non said. “The wall is ab­so­lutely cen­tral to his pro­gram.”

Al­though Trump has claimed sev­eral times that the wall is al­ready be­ing built, Congress has de­clined to al­lo­cate fund­ing for it. So far, only ex­ist­ing fence has been re­paired. In ad­di­tion, sev­eral pro­to­types of a pos­si­ble wall have been built.

In Jan­uary, CNN re­ported that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion had asked for $33 bil­lion to cover the costs of se­cur­ing the bor­der, with $18 bil­lion go­ing to­ward the wall, ac­cord­ing to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion doc­u­ments ob­tained by CNN that were sent to law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill.

Congress is re­quired to ap­pro­pri­ate the funds needed to build the wall, but CNN re­ported in March that Trump had also pri­vately sug­gested that the wall be built with funds from the mil­i­tary bud­get.

In March, Congress passed a $1.3 tril­lion spend­ing plan that did not in­clude any funds for the wall. The pres­i­dent has been press­ing for Congress to re­visit the is­sue this fall. Ban­non said he thinks the pres­i­dent will step in if law­mak­ers again refuse.

“I be­lieve that what he’s go­ing to do is, as we come up on Septem­ber 30, if that ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill does not in­clude spend­ing to fully build his wall — not some $1.6 bil­lion for pro­to­types, I mean to build the south­ern wall — I be­lieve he will shut down the govern­ment,” Ban­non said.

His com­ments came in the in­ter­view with “Fa­reed Zakaria GPS” that will be re­broad­cast on Sun­day.

Trump’s de­mand for a wall was the cen­ter­piece of his 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. In his Trump Tower an­nounce­ment of a White House bid, Trump hit the wall is­sue hard:

“I would build a great wall, and no­body builds walls bet­ter than me, be­lieve me, and I’ll build them very in­ex­pen­sively,” Trump said. “I will build a great, great wall on our south­ern bor­der. And I will have Mex­ico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

Un­til last week, Trump had largely sidestepped pub­lic state­ments on his de­mand that Mex­ico pick up the tab for the wall af­ter his in­sis­tence on the is­sue led to the can­cel­la­tion of Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto’s planned visit to Wash­ing­ton in early 2017.

Trump men­tioned it again at a rally last month in Nashville, Tennessee, prompt­ing an­other quick re­sponse from the Mex­i­can pres­i­dent: “NO. Mex­ico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever. “

Ban­non was fired from his White House post as chief strate­gist last year fol­low­ing his can­did re­marks to au­thor Michael Wolff for the book “Fire and Fury.”

MARTIN DIVISEK/EPA-EFE

Former Trump po­lit­i­cal strate­gist Steve Ban­non was in­ter­viewed on the CNN show “Fa­reed Zakaria GPS.”

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