President Donald Trump deflected when television host Jeanine Pirro pressed him on what it would take for him to use emergency powers to fund a border wall during a phone interview on her show “Justice with Judge Jeanine” Saturday.
“[T]here are 800,000 federal employees who didn’t get a check yesterday,” Pirro said to Trump. “You’re sitting there waiting for a deal. The Democrats are not sitting with you. If this isn’t an emergency, I don’t know what is.”
“Well, I haven’t actually left the White House in months,” Trump said. “And in all fairness, I’m doing a lot of other work. That’s a very important element of what I’m doing, because we have to get the southern border done. And I’ve been here virtually every night, I guess every night other than one day I flew to Iraq and then to Germany to see our troops, and it was great. … I’m not even sure I actually missed a night, per se.”
“But basically, I’ve been here for many months in the White House,” he continued. “I’m a worker. I’m like you, I’m a worker. Frankly, I’m ready, willing and able to get a deal done. They think it’s politics. I think it’s bad politics. This country wants to have protection at the border.” (RELATED: Partial Government Shutdown Is Now The Longest In U.S. History)
Pirro’s interview happened on the same day that the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 22 became the longest in U.S. history. It surpassed the record set by a 21-day shutdown under former President Bill Clinton.
Trump could use emergency powers to bring the shutdown to a close, but such an action is likely to be challenged in court. The president has said he is open to using emergency powers but has also said the shutdown could last “months or even years.”
The current shutdown was triggered after a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government expired on Dec. 21. At the center of the funding battle is approximately $5 billion in funding for the border wall that President Donald Trump wants to build.
The president and his proxies have had several sit-downs with Democratic congressional leaders but “not much headway” has been made, as Trump tweeted after Vice President Mike Pence met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Jan. 5.
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