Trump: 'Good chance' I will declare emergency to build wall

President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York state Senate candidate charged in riot Trump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report GOP senator clashes with radio caller who wants identity of cop who shot Babbitt MORE said Friday there is a “good chance” he will declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to do that,” Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House.


The president suggested he may reveal more details about his plan to build the wall in Tuesday's State of the Union address, saying people should “listen closely” to the speech.

Trump’s comments provide one of the clearest signs yet he may act on his own to build the wall, as his frustration builds with congressional Democrats over their determination to block one of his core campaign promises.

He once again blasted a bipartisan conference committee debating wall funding as a “waste of time” and predicted Democrats would pay a price for opposing the wall.

“I don’t think it’s good politically,” he said. “I think [Speaker] Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate McCarthy knocks Pelosi, mask mandate: 'This House has broken the country's trust' Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal MORE [D-Calif.] should be ashamed of herself because she’s hurting a lot of people.”

The committee is negotiating a potential spending deal that must pass before Feb. 15 to avert another partial government shutdown.

An emergency declaration, which Trump has repeatedly threatened to invoke, could help the president access billions in federal funding for the wall while avoiding a second shutdown, for which Republicans in Congress have little appetite.

But it would face legal challenges that could stymie construction and curtail the president’s powers.

Trump said he has “very, very strong legal standing” to build the wall on his own but acknowledged the possibility a federal judge could block the move.

The president said his administration is moving forward with building 115 miles of barriers along the southwest border “regardless,” with “cash on hand.” He did not provide further details.

Friday's remarks came a day after Trump said he will not accept a spending deal unless it includes money for his proposed border wall.

“If there’s no wall, it doesn’t work,” the president told reporters Thursday when asked if he would be willing to accept other border security measures.

Pelosi on Thursday said Democrats remain opposed to wall funding but would consider providing money for new fencing along the border.

The impasse quickly cast doubt on talks between House and Senate lawmakers from both parties who met for the first time on Wednesday to start discussing a possible spending deal on border security ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.

Trump said Thursday he would wait until mid-February to decide what course of action to pursue regarding the wall, but on Friday he said an emergency declaration could “certainly help the process” of jump-starting construction.

The president is eager to show he is making progress on the wall, in large part to assuage conservative supporters who have accused him of caving on a key campaign promise.

Trump signed a stopgap spending bill into law on Jan. 25 that did not include wall money but ended the 35-day shutdown, which dealt a serious political blow to both the president and congressional Republicans.

The shutdown was triggered on Dec. 22 after Trump backed away from his initial signs of support for a bipartisan spending deal, without wall money. Several high-profile conservatives criticized the president at the time for indicating he would sign the measure into law.

Updated at 1:58 p.m.