President Trump on Friday said he might hold off on declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and begin building his long-promised border wall, at least for the time being.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he has the authority to make an emergency declaration to jump-start wall construction, but said, “I’m not going to do it so fast.”
The president reiterated that he prefers to work out a deal with Democrats in Congress, even though no agreement appears to be in sight after the partial government shutdown stretched into its 21st day.
“We want Congress to do its job,” Trump said. “What we're not looking to do right now is national emergency.”
The president's comments come even as some of his close GOP allies have urged him to make the declaration, saying that negotiations with congressional Democrats have become hopeless.
“It’s clear to both of us that Democrats don’t want to make a deal and will never support border wall/barriers on President Trump’s watch,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said after meeting with Trump at the White House. “Mr. President, declare a national emergency now. Build a wall now.”
The Office of Management and Budget is gearing up for the partial shutdown to continue through February and aides have discussed using Trump's Jan. 29 State of the Union to admonish Democrats over their opposition to his $5.7 billion request for border-wall funding.
The details of those discussions were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.