WATCH: President Trump says he is considering declaring a national emergency as a potential attempt to circumvent Congress for border wall funding. pic.twitter.com/7CYDuBS2pn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 4, 2019
After huddling with congressional leaders Friday over the budget impasse that has partially shut down the government, President Trump told reporters he might declare a national emergency to build a border barrier without legislative approval.
“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country. I haven’t done it. I may do it,” he said.
“We can call a national emergency and do it very quickly.”
The president also affirmed at a news conference in the Rose Garden that he told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer he was willing to shut down the government for “months or even years” if he doesn’t get funding for a border wall with Mexico.
He said he would be “proud” to make that stand because it’s “the right thing to do.”
Earlier Friday, Schumer asserted at a news conference outside the White House that the president was holding federal workers “hostage” for the wall.
Trump claimed the meeting with congressional leaders was “very, very productive.”
Pelosi told reporters the talks were “at times contentious.”
Asked if there had been progress, she replied: “How do you characterize progress?
“It is very hard to see how progress will be made unless they open up the government,” she said.
Schumer said: “We made a plea to the president again: don’t hold millions of Americans, hundreds of thousands of Americans, hostage. Open up the government and let’s continue the discussion.”
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the White House stance in an interview Thursday night with the Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson: “no wall, no deal.”
He suggested, however, the president might consider giving legal status to children brought to the country by illegal-immigrant parents if Democrats fund the border wall.
“I think the president’s made it very clear — no wall, no deal. But look, we really are prepared to negotiate, we’re prepared to talk, we’re prepared to listen,” Pence said.
House Democrats passed bills Thursday night with no money for the wall. Trump won’t sign the legislation, and the Senate adjourned until Tuesday morning.
After taking the speaker’s gavel Thursday, Pelosi declared: “We’re not doing a wall. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking. It isn’t cost effective.”