President Trump is prepared to bypass Congress and declare a national emergency if Democrats don’t agree to fund a border wall.
Trump, departing the White House Thursday en route to McAllen, Texas, said it would be “surprising to me” if he did not make an emergency declaration as talks to end the ongoing government shutdown fell apart a day earlier.
“If this doesn’t work out, I’ll probably will do it, maybe definitely,” Trump said.
Trump and Democrats have been at loggerheads for weeks, leading to the shutdown. The President wants $5.7 billion from Congress to pay for a wall and border security. Democrats have balked at the idea and have petitioned the President to sign off on spending bills allowing federal employees to go back to work while they negotiate.
Trump has claimed that there is a “crisis at the border” due to the high number of people seeking to cross into the U.S. despite the fact that the number of people apprehended at the border has fallen significantly over the past two decades. Trump also does not differentiate between those entering illegally and asylum seekers.
Should he declare a national emergency, Trump would have the power to use Pentagon money to build the wall. The secretary of defense would also be authorized to “undertake military construction projects” which are “necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
Legal scholars say the move would be tied up in court challenges focusing on whether an emergency actually exists on the southern border and on the limits of presidential power over using taxpayer funds without the consent of Congress.
The commander-in-chief claimed Thursday that he is open to compromise, but said he is willing to use his emergency powers to circumvent lawmakers on Capitol Hill if they can’t come to agreement.
He then added that Democrats could “stop this problem in 15 minutes,” but slammed the opposition party as overly liberal and soft on crime.
“I really don’t think they care about crime,” he said.
An agreement between Trump and Democrats appeared unlikely after Wednesday’s brief White House meeting, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ended when the President “sort of slammed the table” and walked out.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Trump will face “problems on his own side of the aisle” should he invoke a national emergency to start building the border wall.
Trump blasted Pelosi and Schumer, saying he thinks diplomats from China are “more honorable” than the Democrats.
“China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party,” Trump said.
He also attempted to his walk back his oft-repeated claims dating back to the 2016 campaign that Mexico will pay for his wall — even though Mexico has said it won’t.
He said that he “never said they were going to write out a check” and would pay for it indirectly “many, many times over.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.