US President Donald Trump says he will close down the US government if necessary to build his wall along the Mexico border.
The president accused the opposition Democrats of being “obstructionist” at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
During the 80-minute speech, he also took aim at the media, blaming them for giving far right groups “a platform”.
President Trump wants the US Congress to finance his controversial plan to build a “big, beautiful” wall along the United States’ border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.
But Republicans will need the support of Democrats to secure funding for the wall in a government spending bill, which they are unlikely to get.
In his speech, Mr Trump said the Democrats were “putting all of America’s safety at risk” by opposing the wall. He said immigration officers who worked in the area said it was “vital” to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.
He said that, if it came to it, he would risk a government shutdown – which is what happens when legislation funding the federal government cannot be passed by Congress and non-essential services stop.
“Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me if we have to close down our government, we are building that wall,” Mr Trump said, adding that “the American people voted for immigration control”.
If President Trump wants a government shutdown all he has to do is refuse to sign a funding bill sent to him by Congress.
Capitol Hill is set to debate a new budget measure this autumn, and unless it is passed federal operations will be paralyzed by 1 October.
James Cook of the BBC says that Donald Trump’s signature campaign promise – to “build that wall” – epitomised his appeal to the nation. Mexico would pay, as Mr Trump and his cheering crowds repeatedly insisted.
But it turns out that governing is harder than campaigning.
Construction of prototypes has been delayed until at least December, by a legal challenge from one rejected bidder.
Ranchers, environmentalists and some businesses on the border have raised objections to the plan, while one Republican congressman in Texas, Will Hurd, has even described the wall as the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border.
Mexico, needless to say, is not keen to write a cheque.
Faced with the need to win over doubters on the detail, and explain why this would be a lot of money well spent, Mr Trump has instead chosen to raise the stakes with an “all or nothing” approach.