President threatens to declare national emergency and build wall without congressional approval: ‘I can do it if I want’
'As a partial US government shutdown hit the two-week mark, Donald Trump told congressional leaders at the White House he was prepared for the standoff to last months or even years.
“Absolutely I said that,” said Trump during a Rose Garden press conference, when asked if Senator Chuck Schumer was correct in his claim that the White House was prepared to continue the shutdown indefinitely.
The president also upped the ante, threatening to declare a national emergency and build a border wall without congressional approval.
“I can do it if I want,” he said. He also suggested what he called “the military version of eminent domain” as a method of obtaining private property for wall construction.
Trump faces a divided government, with Democrats newly in control of the House. Democratic leaders emerged from Friday’s meeting reporting that the president had said he was prepared to close the government “for a very long time, even years” if there was no deal.
Trump had invited leaders from both parties back to the White House just two days after a meeting on border security in the Situation Room did not resolve matters, and a day after Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House and Democrats passed legislation to reopen the government.
Seeking to ease concerns, the White House sought to frame planned weekend talks as a step forward, as did Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. Trump designated vice-president Mike Pence, the homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and the presidential adviser Jared Kushner to work with a congressional delegation at a meeting scheduled for Saturday morning.'
Read more: Trump confirms he said government shutdown could last months or years