“We’re going to get the wall, even if we have to think about closing up the country for a little while,” Trump said during an event billed as a tax reform roundtable in Cleveland. “We’re going to get the wall. We have no choice.”
The president has previously threatened a shutdown over the border wall issue, floating the idea as recently as a week ago.
He expressed disappointment specifically with Mexico over the so-called "caravan" of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.
“I really thought they’d be much better to us and tougher on the caravan. Didn’t work out that way,” the president said. “They allow these people to come up through Mexico and come into our country.”
The president's criticism of Mexico comes after he praised the Mexican government last month for its efforts in breaking up the caravan.
Those migrants that did continue on with the journey to the U.S. border arrived several days ago and have been having their pleas for asylum processed.
President Trump also decried the so-called “catch and release” policy by which people caught illegally entering the country are released as they await trial. He seemed to question the fact that they get a trial in the first place.
“We have thousands of judges. You think other countries have judges? We give them, like, trials," the president said. "That’s the good news. The bad news is they never show up for the trial.
"Welcome to the United States,” the president said, as if in sarcasm.
The president also used the official event as an opportunity to campaign for Rep. Jim Renacci, R-OH, who is running for Senate and was seated on stage next to the president.
Trump said Renacci is “doing really great” and “has my full support."
“We need your vote. We need your help, so go out and help Jim,” Trump said.
While in Cleveland, the president also participated in a fundraiser with the RNC, speaking to 250 people and raising $3 million.