WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he may declare a national emergency if no deal is reached with Congress to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I think we might work a deal and if we don’t, I may go that route,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”
The wall has been a sticking point between the White House and Congressional Democrats.
Trump has maintained a call for $5.7 billion dollars to fund it, while Democrats have countered with $1.3 billion for border security.
The disagreement has lead to a partial government shutdown, which is now in its 18th day.
The president has continued to wage a pressure campaign against Democrats, pledging to not support any stopgap measures to reopen the government and delivering a prime-time televised address Tuesday night from the Oval Office.
He has flirted with the controversial step of declaring a national emergency, which he insists would allow him to order the military to construct the wall without Congressional approval, but has said he would prefer to work with Congress.
The national emergency strategy is guaranteed to face legal challenges, but Trump has appeared largely undeterred.
“I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Trump said Wednesday.
After his remarks, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence went to the U.S. Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans. Congressional leaders are set to sit down with Trump at the White House later in the afternoon.