09:55 GMT +320 February 2019
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    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up while addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference in Washington. (File)

    Trump Says 'Torn' Over Timing of Government Shutdown

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    US President Donald Trump admitted he was not sure if a government shutdown should take place before or after midterm elections in November.

    "We are going to be taking some very tough actions. I don’t know if it’s before the elections or after the elections," he said at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday. "I’m a little torn myself. I’d personally prefer before."

    Trump added that, whether before or after, he was either getting of support Congress Democrats for a wall on the southern border or closing down the government.

    The president emphasized tougher border security was essential in ending drug trafficking and stopping violent gang members, such as MS-13, from entering the country.

    Trump threatened in July to stop funding federal agencies if the Democrats do not agree to tighter border security, ending the visa lottery, "catch and release," chain migration, and introducing a merit-based system for immigration.

    "I don’t care what the political ramifications are, our immigration laws and border security have been a complete and total disaster for decades, and there is no way that the Democrats will allow it to be fixed without a Government Shutdown," Trump said in a Twitter message. "A Government Shutdown is a very small price to pay for a safe and Prosperous America!"

    The government's budget is expected to last through September. Trump was close to vetoing the previous spending bill earlier this year over his insistence on building a border wall.

    The wall project has proven contentious as Trump originally claimed Mexico would pay for it, but the Mexican government repeatedly stressed it would not.


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