President Trump rocked the Democrats today when he declared he had the power to declare a national emergency in order to build the damn wall on his own!
And he said he’d been thinking very seriously about doing just that!
Take a look:
The HuffPost had more details:
President Donald Trump said in a Friday afternoon press conference that he could declare a national emergency over immigration at the southern U.S. border to circumvent the need for congressional approval to build a border wall.
Asked specifically whether he has considered granting himself the authority to build his much-discussed wall, Trump replied, “Yes, I have.”
“And I can do it if I want,” he told reporters gathered in the White House Rose Garden.
“We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”
A dispute over funding for the massive infrastructure project Trump first proposed on the campaign trail led to the partial government shutdown that began two weeks ago.
As a portion of federal workers continue to go without paychecks and a new Congress convened this week, Democrats and Republicans have yet to come to an agreement over the Trump administration’s border security demands. Trump has said that he is willing to wait “as long as it takes” to obtain funds for the wall, which became one of his central campaign promises.
A Friday meeting to discuss the shutdown was characterized differently by each side. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it a “contentious” discussion, but Trump claimed it had been “productive.” His administration has asked for $5.6 billion for the project.
Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, ABC News reported Friday that the president has discussed using funds from the Department of Defense, among several other options, as an alternative to making a deal.
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa said an unnamed former Trump adviser told the paper that the president was “willing to send the Army Corps of Engineers down to the border and start digging” if he does not get what he wants.
And from CBS News:
President Trump is still locked in a heated battle with congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall between U.S. and Mexico, telling reporters Friday that he believes the ongoing partial government shutdown could continue for over a year. But he acknowledged that there is another way to get the wall built without negotiating for $5.6 billion in funding from Congress. Mr. Trump said that he was considering calling a national emergency at the border so that the wall could be built without congressional approval.
"I can do it if I want," Mr. Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden after meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other congressional leaders. "I may do it."
Mr. Trump made the case in his post-meeting address-turned-press conference that not funding a border wall was a critical matter of national security, arguing that drug dealers and human traffickers were taking advantage of the gaps on the border where no fence exists. Vice President Mike Pence also spoke briefly, saying that the country is "in the midst of a crisis on our southern border."
If Mr. Trump called a national emergency, he would have the unilateral authority to build the wall. Although he has repeatedly claimed that Mexico would pay for the wall to be built, the money would come from American taxpayers if wall funding is approved by Congress or if it is used in a national emergency.
A national emergency is one of the conditions under which Pentagon funds could be used to build the wall. It's unclear how much of the Pentagon budget could be used for a national emergency.
One option would be to have the Army Corps of Engineers build it. Despite its name, the Corps is made up almost entirely of civilians who administer construction contracts, so troops wouldn't actually be building the wall.
Mr. Trump reiterated his claim that Mexico will indirectly pay for the wall thanks to the increase in revenue as a result of the newly negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. The agreement has not yet passed Congress.
"We could call a national emergency and build it very quickly. That's another way to do it. But if we can do it through a negotiated process, that's better," Mr. Trump said about building the wall. He also said that the meeting with congressional leaders was "productive."
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