President Donald Trump said Sunday that he might declare a national emergency imminently to secure money for his border wall.
“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Camp David.
A White House official told CNN on Saturday that Trump was leaning towards declaring a national emergency to use military funding for his wall. Trump has demanded Congress appropriate money for the wall, and his dispute with Democrats over the issue pushed the government into an ongoing partial shutdown.
Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with congressional leadership staff on Sunday afternoon, where, according to two congressional sources, aides would be given the White House’s budget justification for about $5.7 billion for the border wall.
Trump also said Sunday that he planned to call the head of US Steel and other steel manufacturers to ask them to design a steel barrier for the southern border.
Trump said on Friday he “may” attempt to invoke emergency powers to build the wall, although such a move would be expected to face legal action.
Schiff: ‘A non-starter’
The idea has met pushback from some, including California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he did not think Trump would be able to use emergency powers to build a wall at the southern border.
“Look, if Harry Truman couldn’t nationalize the steel industry during wartime, this President doesn’t have the power to declare an emergency and build a multibillion dollar wall on the border,” Schiff said. “So that’s a non-starter.”
Schiff said the burden remained on Trump to move and reopen the government, saying Trump had painted himself into a corner and needed to “figure out how he unpaints himself from that corner.”
The congressman also said that if Democrats give into Trump’s demand, it would incentivize the President to attempt further shutdowns in order to extract concessions.
“We just can’t afford to do business that way,” Schiff said.
WH: Weekend talks unfruitful
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in a separate interview on the same program that talks on Saturday to reopen the government “did not make much progress.”
Trump, in his comments to reporters Sunday morning, said he and Pence did not “expect to have anything happen” at further shutdown talks between Pence and congressional leadership staff Sunday afternoon.
Trump said, however, that he expected “very serious talks” early this week and that he “can relate” to federal workers affected by the shutdown.
“I am sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustment, they always do,” Trump said.