WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that if negotiations with Congress fail to yield funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, it would be “surprising” if he doesn’t declare a national emergency.
“I may do it if this doesn’t work out. I probably will do it,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn. “I would almost say definitely.”
Trump has maintained that he has the authority to order the construction of the wall without Congressional approval.
Speaking Thursday, Trump cited various funding “mechanisms” that can be employed without the legislative branch.
The controversial move would likely result in court challenges if it proceeds.
Trump’s comments came as he left en route to McCallen, Texas, a trip to the border that marks his latest attempt to make the case for a barrier between the two nations.
The wall has been at the heart of an ongoing partial government shutdown.
Funding for 25 percent of the federal government expired 20 days ago after Trump refused to support any stopgap measures that did not include $5.7 billion for the wall.
Democrats have countered with $1.3 billion, but have refused to support the barrier, a position that Trump has attacked.
On Wednesday, Trump abruptly walked out of a meeting with Congressional leaders after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would not work to fund the wall if the government was reopened.
Prior to leaving for Texas, Trump also said he would cancel this month’s planned trip to Davos, Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum if the shutdown continued.