President Trump on Friday said he was holding off on declaring a national emergency on the border, renewing calls for Democrats to break the stalemate over wall funding.
“The easy solution is for me to call a national emergency,” he said. “But I’m not going to do that so fast as this is something Congress should do and we’re waiting for the Democrats to vote.”
Trump made the remarks at a roundtable on border security on the 21st day of the partial government shutdown that began after Democrats and Republicans were unable to come to an agreement on Trump’s demand for almost $6 billion in funding for a wall.
As the stalemate drags on, Trump has said he was considering declaring a national emergency — which would give him more powers to build the wall without congressional approval.
“The law is very clear. I mean, we have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an exclusive interview Thursday. “This is a national emergency, if you look what’s happening.”
But on Friday he said it would hold off on such action, and he urged “the Democrats to come back to Washington and vot
“It’s the easy way out, but Congress should do this. It’s too simple, too basic and Congress should do this,” he said.
Trump had also seen some encouragement from Republicans in Congress for the measure. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement he had met with Trump and said that Democrats don’t intend to make a deal.
“Mr. President, declare a national emergency now,” he said. “Build a wall now.”
He also brushed off concerns from Democrats about the effectiveness of the wall, saying that El Paso has gone from one of the most dangerous cities to one of the safest, because of the barrier there.
He also addressed claims that the wall was a “medieval solution.”
“They say it’s medieval. Well, so is the wheel,” he said. “Some things don’t change, wheels and walls.”
Trump also expressed his flexibility on whether the barrier would be a concrete wall or a steel barrier, saying while he would prefer concrete steel “works just as well.”
Earlier he had been more alarmist in his description of the crisis on the border, saying that it amounts to an “invasion” and is “far worse” than people understand.
“Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border. I just got back and it is a far worse situation than almost anyone would understand, an invasion!” Trump tweeted Friday. “I have been there numerous times –The Democrats, Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy don’t know how bad and dangerous it is for our ENTIRE COUNTRY.”
Fox News’ Jason Donner and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.