Donald Trump floated a teaser via Twitter on Friday evening saying that he was going to make a “major announcement” regarding the partial government shutdown on Saturday. The news has caused speculation that the president might be ready to revisit the idea of declaring a national emergency in order to get around the impasse with Congress over building his border wall.
Friday marks the 28th day in what is the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Trump and Congressional leaders have been locked in a battle over funding for a wall on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. For weeks, Democratic leaders have presented bills to open the government, but the Republican-controlled Senate and Trump have declined to pass any of them, saying that they will only accept the full $5.7 billion in funding that the president has requested.
With congressional leaders heading home on Friday night, the government is all but guaranteed to stay closed until Monday. Late Friday night, Trump suggested that there may be a break in the stalemate on the horizon.
“I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse,” Trump wrote.
The tweet comes just hours after the president said that Republican leaders are as unified as ever over the issue of a border wall, a statement that is not supported by fact. Eight House Republicans voted against funding the wall in December, with one calling the proposed funding plan “wasteful.”
Never seen the Republican Party so unified. No “Cave” on the issue of Border and National Security. A beautiful thing to see, especially when you hear the new rhetoric spewing from the mouths of the Democrats who talk Open Border, High Taxes and Crime. Stop Criminals & Drugs now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
Over the past two years, as Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House, leaders have failed to pass a bill to fund the wall. In September of 2017, a survey found that just 69 of 292 Republicans in Congress supported funding Trump’s wall, even at a reduced amount of $1.6 billion.
Only two people can end the shutdown, and neither is budging https://t.co/B4hi2yvbnZ— TIME (@TIME) January 18, 2019
All this means that many people expect Trump to declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and reopen the government. Trump has floated the idea of declaring a national emergency, saying that he has the right to do it, but he has held back on taking that step so far.
“I think we might work a deal,” he said. “And if we don’t, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want.”