WASHINGTON -— President Trump has concluded that a government shutdown might be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall, according to people who have spoken with him recently.

Over the past 10 days, the president has also told advisers that it is important that he is seen as tough on immigration and getting money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to two people who have spoken with him. He has asked friends about how a shutdown would affect him politically and has told several people he would put the blame on the Democrats.

Trump’s mixed messages on a partial government shutdown is hampering the ability of congressional Republicans to negotiate with Democrats, whose support they need to pass spending legislation in coming weeks. Many Republicans said this week that a shutdown is an unwelcome possibility they hope to avoid.

“When you run for office and you get elected and you are given the opportunity to govern, it strikes me as a bad idea to shut the government down. That seems like an abdication of responsibility,” said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., added that any business that shut down abruptly “would go bankrupt. Actually, by definition they would be bankrupt. So, I think you have to avoid shutdowns at all costs.”

Up against a Dec. 8 spending deadline, House Republican leaders on Friday are expected to unveil a measure to extend current funding until Dec. 22, said multiple aides, who were granted anonymity to describe private deliberations. If talks on a longer-term deal to fund the government are not resolved by that time, the leaders are prepared to pursue another stopgap plan.


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