U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Rose Garden after a meeting with U.S. Congressional leaders about the U.S. government shutdown and border security at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he could use emergency powers to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without approval from Congress.
A showdown between Trump and Congressional Democrats over funding for the project has led to a two-week government shutdown. Trump says he will not support a bill to fully fund the government until he secures the money for the wall.
Asked whether he had considered declaring a national emergency to build the wall, Trump said: “Yes, I have. … We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it … But we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”
The U.S. Constitution assigns Congress the power over funding the federal government, so Trump would likely face legal challenges if he tried to bypass Congress on financing the wall.
He dismissed those concerns in a news briefing at the White House.
“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely,” he said. Asked if declaring a national emergency was a threat hanging over Democrats, Trump said, “I’d never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do that, yes.”
Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio