President Trump stood firm Friday on his demands for a border wall after the second White House meeting with congressional leaders this week broke up with no apparent deal, warning Democrats the partial government shutdown could last “years” and saying he could even declare a “national emergency” to bypass Congress if necessary, FOX News reports.
“Have you considered using emergency powers to build this wall without congressional approval?” an ABC News reporter asked the president.
“Yes, I have,” he said.
“And I can do it if I want.”
“So you don’t need congressional approval to build the wall?” the reporter asked.
“Absolutely, we can call a national emergency. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it,” the president responded.
“We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” he said.
“We can call a national emergency [to build a border wall] because of the security of our country,” Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden, during a lengthy and impromptu press conference.
“I may do it,” he said, before adding, “If we can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving it a shot.”
The press conference underscored how far apart both sides are, even as Trump called the meeting “productive” and suggested the standoff could end soon — or not. He indicated he was not shifting on his demand for more than $5 billion for funding for a wall on the southern border, saying it was necessary as the border is a “dangerous, horrible disaster.”
“This is national security we’re talking about, we’re not talking about games,” he told reporters. “We’re not playing games, we have to do it.”
Despite Trump saying conversations had “come a long way,” Democrats were more dour in their assessment. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer exited saying Trump told them “he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”
Trump later confirmed in the Rose Garden, “Absolutely I said that,” while clarifying he hopes the partial shutdown doesn’t last more than a few more days. He said it could be opened “very quickly” if they come to an agreement on the wall. He offered some flexibility only on what the wall would be made of, saying it could be concrete or steel.
“Steel is more expensive than the concrete, but I feel like we’re talking about steel because the other side feels better about it,” he said.
Yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats’ view is that they cannot resolve the funding dispute until the government fully opens. She said there had been progress only in the sense of a “better understanding” of each other.
On Thursday night, Pence said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the terms of the negotiations were clear: “Bottom line, if there’s no wall, there’s no deal.”
Democrats are asswipes.