President Donald Trump revealed in a Friday afternoon press conference that he was open to using his emergency powers as commander-in-chief to build a wall along the U.S. southern border even if he does not get congressional approval.
Reporter: “Have you considered using emergency powers to grant yourself authority to build this wall without congressional approval?”
President Trump: “Yes, I have. And I can do it if I want.” pic.twitter.com/gmbmKZcXl7
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) January 4, 2019
Trump told reporters he is able to declare a national emergency under his authority as commander-in-chief but that he was not going to do it at this time. “We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. It’s another way of doing it. We can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot,” the president said. (RELATED: Trump Refuses To Budge in Shutdown Demand: ‘As Long As It Takes’)
Trump said the suggestion was not a threat to Democratic lawmakers but merely noted that it was an option available to him. Trump held his press conference with reporters in the Rose Garden after emerging from a nearly two-hour long meeting at the White House with congressional leaders of both parties.
The meeting was aimed at ending a partial government shutdown over a dispute about funding the border wall. Trump is demanding $5.6 billion for a wall along the southern border, while Democrats say they will give him no more than $1.6 billion for border security.
Throughout the press conference, Trump expressed optimism that such a deal will be reached and said he had instructed his staff and the staff of Democratic congressional leaders to meet over the weekend to seek a solution.
Despite his positive tone, however, the president acknowledged that he told Democratic lawmakers he was willing to let the shutdown go on for “months or even years,” if needed.