Politics

Trump Open To Using Emergency Powers To Build Wall

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

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.

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.

U.S. President Trump gives thumbs up during campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio

U.S. President Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd during a campaign rally on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections in Cleveland, Ohio., U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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.