If anyone thought President Trump was willing to back down over his promise to build a wall on the US/Mexico border, his words on Sunday should bring them back to reality. Talking to reporters in the Rose Garden, the president confirmed that declaring a national emergency over the illegal immigration crisis is still an option. While the move would certainly be challenged by leftists, it might be necessary if the political deadlock on funding isn’t resolved soon.
In a lively discussion with journalists after returning from Camp David on Sunday afternoon, President Trump said he’s looking at declaring a national emergency “because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers. We have a crisis at the border, of drugs, of human beings being trafficked all over the world. They’re coming through.”
- When asked how he might do this, Trump said there were several options. He pointed out that he would prefer the Supreme Court to make a ruling and then to work with Democrats to find a compromise, but made clear he’s keeping all options open.
- Democrat refusal to fund border security has led to a government shutdown that’s now into its third week. Trump says it would be possible to reach a compromise with House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in 20 minutes if they wanted to, but that it could go on for a long time if they keep being obstructive.
- The president made clear that he’s not going to budge, saying that the importance of a strong border outweighs the problems being caused by the ongoing shutdown. He also claimed support from federal employees, telling the media that government workers are patriots who “want our borders taken care of.”
- Trump outlined the latest plans for the barrier. Originally he wanted a concrete wall, but following tests of prototypes he now says it should be made from steel. A steel wall has several advantages; it’s quicker to build, and the metal it needs will give a valuable boost to US manufacturers.
- Meanwhile, Trump’s senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, confirmed that White House lawyers are researching the legal implications of declaring a national emergency. Conway pointed at Congress and the courts for the disruption caused by the shutdown, saying Congress has failed to do its job.