Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump will gain political leverage if Democrats get into a government shutdown fight over an immigration issue.
Continetti appeared on MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily" and weighed in on the government budget proposal currently in Congress. Democrats have demanded the budget deal include protection for so-called Dreamers who are under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Continetti questioned whether they would have a strong position from which to fight on that issue.
"It's very unlikely in my view for the Democrats to shut down the government," Continetti said. "They are the party of government. If they do shut it down by not passing the spending bill, they will be blamed for it."
Continetti got pushback over his view from fellow panelist Ruth Marcus and host Chuck Todd, but he explained that making the budget into an immigration issue would expand Trump's leverage.
"Government funding is one thing. The Democrats as the party of government, unlikely to shut down their government," Continetti said. "Two, if the shutdown is because of the refusal of the Republicans to include DACA in the spending measure, then it's no longer a budget issue, it's an immigration issue, and here I actually think that Trump has much more leverage in containing his party and controlling his party vis-à-vis the Democrats even though the public would like DACA to be approved."
Todd then agreed with Continetti that once the matter becomes an immigration issue instead of a budget one, the politics would change.