President Donald Trump again threatened Sunday to declare a national emergency as a means to construct his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying he would first gauge the results of upcoming negotiations to end a partial government shutdown triggered by partisan debate over his campaign trail promise.
“I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days,” Trump told reporters as he exited the White House en route to Camp David, according to a pool report.
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“We have to build the wall or we have to build the barrier. The barrier or the wall can be of steel instead of concrete if that works better,” the president said.
Trump also reiterated his arguments for the building of the wall and argued without supporting evidence that many of the government workers who are not receiving their paychecks are supportive of what he is doing.
“This is a very important battle to win from the standpoint of safety, No. 1, defining our country and who we are. Also from the standpoint of dollars. This wall will pay for itself many times through the course of the year,” he said.
The president’s remarks came as Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Cabinet secretaries have been instructed to look for money within their budgets that could be used to fund Trump’s proposed border wall. Mulvaney said he has “been working with all the Cabinet secretaries to try and find money that we can legally use to defend the Southern border.”
Trump signaled in a Friday news conference that he would consider using his emergency powers to bypass Congress and begin construction on the wall.
“Absolutely, we could call a national emergency because of the security of our county,” the president told reporters assembled in the Rose Garden at the White House.
“I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it. But we could call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” Trump said Friday, adding that he would prefer to acquire funding for the wall “through a negotiated process” with congressional lawmakers in a deal that would bring an end to the shutdown, which entered its 16th day on Sunday.
Victoria Guida contributed to this article.