WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday told his fellow Republicans in Congress to “stop wasting their time” on immigration legislation until after November, dismissing his party’s struggle to surmount internal divisions.
Trump’s tweets come just days after he insisted Congress needed to act to resolve the problems at the U.S.-Mexico border. But stubborn differences between conservative and more moderate Republicans in the House have stalled immigration legislation on Capitol Hill, with a vote on a compromise measure delayed until next week.
Trump said Friday that even if a measure passes, it’s doomed in the Senate.
“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” he tweeted. “Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”
Trump’s comments come amid an international outcry over the separation of migrant families at the southern border. Trump asserted Thursday that Congress could provide the “only real solution” to the crisis.
They also follow on days of congressional wrangling as GOP leadership had been hoping Trump could help sell immigration legislation to wary members. The last ditch effort on immigration ahead of the midterm elections was meant to help vulnerable Republicans this fall.
Trump himself travelled to Capitol Hill Tuesday to make the case that Congress should pass either of two bills that have been under consideration, and on Wednesday postponed the annual Congressional Picnic that had been scheduled for Thursday at the White House so that lawmakers could work to pass them.
A measure backed by conservative lawmakers failed Thursday. Hours later Republican leaders postponed final voting on what was billed as a compromise immigration package until next week as negotiators made a last-ditch push for support.
GOP leaders trying to persuade colleagues to seize the moment and tackle immigration problems by approving the bill, which includes $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since childhood.
Calling Democrats “obstructionists” and accusing them of not caring about border security, Trump tweeted Friday that voters need to elect more Republicans.
“Even if we get 100% Republican votes in the Senate, we need 10 Democrat votes to get a much needed Immigration Bill,” Trump said.
Despite the president’s prediction of a “Red wave” this fall, Republicans are facing an uphill battle this November as they seek to hold onto control of the House and Senate. Headwinds from the controversy-embracing president and a wave of retirements in the House have put the GOP majority at severe risk.
Democrats face a more challenging map to retaking control in the Senate, with the GOP eyeing pick-ups of seats in states Trump carried in 2016.