With the partial government shutdown still in full swing as U.S. President Donald Trump and congress continue to battle over funding for the president’s wall across the southern border, he offered a potential other solution to finding the money.
Speaking to members of the media in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday morning, Trump answered a question by ABC News‘ senior national correspondent Terry Moran, saying that he did not need congressional support to build the wall.
Moran asked the president if he had considered “granting himself emergency authorities” to find a way to build the way, and Trump answered that he was well within his rights to do so.
“Yes, I have. And I can do it if I want,” the president responded. “Absolutely we can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly. But if we can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot.”
The president then added that the option is “not a threat” to the Democrats, despite him saying he will go that route if he doesn’t get the funding through congress.
Pres. Trump says he's considered declaring a national emergency to circumvent congressional approval to allocate funds for border wall: "We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country... I haven't done it, I may do it." https://t.co/2gbEmkW4o9 pic.twitter.com/4nlEbM62Mw— ABC News (@ABC) January 4, 2019
Trump did not explain how he would proceed if he were to call a national emergency.
The president also has other options for getting the money, according to sources who spoke to ABC News. One of those options is “reprogramming funds from the Department of Defense and elsewhere,” and this would not require Trump to get congressional approval.
According to the sources, Trump is still weighing up his options with his advisors, and there are a “range of legal mechanisms that are being considered” before the president makes any announcement.
This is all happening two weeks after the government shutdown was triggered just before the Christmas holiday, leaving nearly a million government employees working without pay or on furlough, and unsure about when they would receive their next paycheck.
On Thursday, the new Senate and House took their seats. This means that Trump is now negotiating with a House of Representatives that is controlled by the Democrats, and new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear where the party stands on the president’s wall.
“We are not doing a wall.”
As a result, the administration will spend the next few days in meetings to try and figure out what the next step is, as Trump has threatened to continue the government shutdown as long as is necessary until he gets his funding.