Trump: It’ll Be ‘Surprising’ if I Don’t Declare National Emergency

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for a visit to the southern border in Texas from the White House in Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

President Trump said Thursday that he would “almost . . . definitely” declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build his long-promised border wall if Democratic lawmakers won’t meet his demand for funding.

“If we don’t make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “The only way you have a strong border is you have a wall or steel barrier. . . . I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency.”

Thursday marks the 20th day of the partial federal government shutdown that began just before Christmas, when negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over border-security funding broke down. The president will travel to the border town of McAllen, Texas later in the day as part of his push for $5.7 billion to construct a barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats have so far refused to approve more than $1.6 billion for non-wall border security, and a meeting between the president and Democratic leaders ended abruptly after 20 minutes on Wednesday when Trump stormed out over House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to meet his demand for border-wall funds.

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