Trump's 'Extraordinary' Threat: Money for Wall, or a Shutdown
He also hinted that he'd like to terminate NAFTA
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2017 1:29 PM CDT
President Trump gestures to the crowd while speaking at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(Newser) – President Trump was speaking in Reno Wednesday even as the assessment continued over his Tuesday night rally in Phoenix. In Arizona, he didn't just vent about the media, he also made headlines on multiple policy fronts. Among other things, he renewed his push for a border wall in a big way. "If we have to close down that government, we are going to build that wall," he told cheering supporters. The issue is expected to come to a head during budget negotiations in September, with Politico reporting that Trump has been telling advisers he won't accept any deal unless it contains "real money" to start construction. “He is animated about the wall,” one source tells the website. “He cares about that more than many other things. He knows his base cares and chants about it.” Related coverage about the rally:

  • Followup tweet: In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump went after Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who is up for re-election, calling him "weak on crime & border." Flake has been skeptical about a wall, notes the New York Times, which sees Trump's threat of a shutdown as an "extraordinary challenge to his own party."
  • Killing NAFTA? Trump also made an ominous threat about the trade pact with Mexico and Canada, currently in the midst of a renegotiation process. "We will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA," he said. "I personally don't think you can make a deal without a termination, but we're going to see what happens, OK?" Axios rounds up that quote and others, including his promise to remember the business leaders who abandoned his councils.

  • Violence at the end: Police officials say they will investigate the use of pepper spray, smoke canisters, and flash bangs by officers on protesters, reports the Arizona Republic. Meanwhile, Trump supporters took exception to Reuters' description of the protesters as "peace activists," per Twitchy. And an African-American supporter of Trump was punched repeatedly in the face by a protester as he left the rally, reports Mediaite, which has video.
  • Familiar face: Those watching on TV likely noticed an African-American man holding up a "Blacks for Trump" sign in the audience behind Trump. He's a regular at Trump events, and the Washington Post digs into the story of the man who calls himself "Michael the Black Man." One paragraph provides a taste: "The radical fringe activist from Miami once belonged to a violent black supremacist religious cult, and he runs a handful of amateur, unintelligible conspiracy websites. He has called Barack Obama 'The Beast' and Hillary Clinton a Ku Klux Klan member. Oprah Winfrey, he says, is the devil."
  • Familiar photo: The Arizona Republic reports that a viral photo purporting to show a huge crowd of Trump supporters was actually from a Cleveland Cavaliers parade a while back. The photo has surfaced previously, notes Cleveland Scene. At the same time, one critic thinks the Republic's front page, featuring a large "Violence Erupts" headline, was "overcooked."

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