President Donald Trump on Friday teased about invoking emergency powers to enable the construction of a border wall, sparking concerns over a possible power grab amidst his third government shutdown.
The president apparently believes he can bypass Congress, which wields the power of the purse, as the stalemate over border security funding enters its third week.
Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the White House on Friday to continue negotiating the reopening of the government. No deal was reached as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are holding firm on their $5 billion demand for a border wall.
During an hour-long press conference, Trump said he is considering declaring a national emergency over illegal immigration.
"We can call a national emergency over the security of our country, absolutely," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden. "Now, we can do it. I haven't done it. I may do it, I may do it."
Trump says he's considering calling a "national emergency" to secure funding to construct border wall: "I haven't d… https://t.co/GphUwFrVOt— Newsweek (@Newsweek)1546635900.0
Trump said he can "call a national emergency" and erect a border wall "very quickly," but emphasized that he would prefer to go "through a negotiated process."
USA Today's Gregory Korte explains why Trump is wrong.
This isn't the way national emergencies work. Under the National Emergencies Act, Trump can only exercise emergency… https://t.co/SJIIcVk2dy— Gregory Korte (@Gregory Korte)1546631785.0
But one thing a national emergency can't do is spend money that hasn't been appropriated by Congress. So all Trump… https://t.co/SDJtIXeDAS— Gregory Korte (@Gregory Korte)1546631986.0
So the question will be: Which current military construction projects does Trump believe are "not essential to the… https://t.co/EbUlHGK93z— Gregory Korte (@Gregory Korte)1546637224.0
Still, people are understandably worried that Trump is inching toward dictatorship.
Trump says he is considering using "emergency powers" for the wall. Where else have I heard of a leader using… https://t.co/XzsHs8hvI8— Marc 'KrazerKap' Kerns (@Marc 'KrazerKap' Kerns)1546638079.0
@Newsweek That’s now a dictatorship via democratic means. You will never get rid of him. Erdogan pulled the emergen… https://t.co/IR42FdVJZd— MarvinaSky (@MarvinaSky)1546636362.0
@Newsweek This is truly out of hand. The GOP needs to rein Trump in.— thismomentonly (@thismomentonly)1546637947.0
@Newsweek He has been hanging with brutal dictators so long he forgets where he lives.— Elizabeth R. (@Elizabeth R.)1546635992.0
Others think Trump is off his rocker.
@Newsweek Delusional— Jean Russell (@Jean Russell)1546636195.0
@Newsweek Unfit to be President.— 🌲Things of Beauty 🌲 (@🌲Things of Beauty 🌲)1546636989.0
So much for making deals.
@Newsweek We see right here some of the great negotiating skills that led to bankruptcies and unpaid craftsmen.— ancientgreek (@ancientgreek)1546636418.0
@Newsweek Tell him to Just. Stop. Talking.— Paula Hendryx (@Paula Hendryx)1546637258.0
@Newsweek He can’t do it. Another bluff.— KeepItQuiet (@KeepItQuiet)1546636555.0
When asked if he was blustering as a threat to Democrats, who now hold the majority in the House of Representatives, Trump said: “I never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do it.”
NBC News reported Friday evening that Pentagon and Homeland Security officials are discussing what options Trump has, including declaring a national emergency. One official said the administration is taking this possibility seriously.
"Depending on the severity of the crisis, it’s always been an option," the official said. "Now that things are getting worse, we are looking at how that could be operationalized and used to confront the crisis."